The latest data from Statistics Estonia indicates that child poverty in Estonia has continued to decrease, hitting a new low of 3.2%, the coalition Social Democratic Party (SDE) said on Saturday, noting that the increase in child benefits plays an important role in this drop.
As of 1 January, child benefits for a family's first and second child will increase to €60 per month, and jump to €100 per month beginning with a family's third child.
"Absolute child poverty has decreased threefold in recent years," Minister of Health and Labour Riina Sikkut (SDE) said. "While some 10% of Estonian children lived in absolute poverty in 2014, by 2017, the absolute child poverty rate had declined to 3.2%."
Allowances and benefits have an important role to play in reducing child poverty. In 2017, various allowances reduced the rate of child poverty by 7.3%.
The minister also highlighted that the state continues to pay a monthly benefit of €300 to families raising three or more children.
According to Ms Sikkut, the costs related to raising a child should be borne by society together, and Estonia's nex step should be to relieve parents of the burden of kindergarten fees.
"When school and university are free of charge, having a child attend kindergarten should not place a great financial strain on families either," the minister said.
The SDE said that as the cost of raising a child continues to increase, child benefits should likewise increase in Estonia as well. The junior coalition party is seeking an increase in the child benefit paid out to a family's first and second children from €60 to €100 per month.
Editor: Aili Vahtla