Five thousand children living in poverty in Iceland Skip to content

Five thousand children living in poverty in Iceland

According to a recent report published by the government, 5,000 children in Iceland live below the national poverty line and their parents have to seek help from charities.

People are considered below the national poverty line if their salary does not cover basic needs, as described on the website of MP Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir.

A couple with two children who earn less than ISK 119,000 a month, or 1.4 million a year (EUR 15,168, USD 20,020), are short of ISK 1.9 million (EUR 20,585, USD 27,170) to afford food, clothing and pay bills.

Ásgerdur Jóna Flosadóttir, head of charity Family Aid tells that about 1,200 families in Iceland are registered by the charity as low-income families, which is a slight increase from last year. Close to 200 families seek help at Family Aid every week.

Every Wednesday Family Aid distributes second hand goods and food to low-income families and individuals in Iceland. “They are single parents, invalids and pensioners and lately there has been an increase in immigrant families who seek our help,” Flosadóttir says.

“Next Wednesday we will start distributing Christmas food and presents. These are donations from private citizens and companies in Iceland,” Flosadóttir adds.

“This year author Ólafur Jóhann Ólafsson donated 200 smoked pork roasts [a traditional Icelandic Christmas dinner] which cost around ISK 600,000 [EUR 6,500, USD 8,580]. That is incredibly generous,” Flosadóttir says.

Flosadóttir told RÚV that children from low-income families are often bullied at school as they don’t have the same quality of life as children who come from a wealthier background.

Flosadóttir said these children do not have the opportunity to practice sports or take part in after-school programs, as it is too expensive for their parents.

Some of these children don’t even own winter clothing and their parents can’t afford school dinners.

Flosadóttir said she does not understand why the government has not introduced school uniforms to schools in Iceland, which in her opinion would put an end to such bullying.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article