The Center for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR), together with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Uzbekistan, conducted an assessment of the level of poverty among the child population, as well as an analysis of the effectiveness of the social protection system, as reported in the press release.

This analysis allows us to assess the effectiveness and targeting of the social protection system, identify its advantages and disadvantages, and suggest measures for its improvement to ensure more equal access to social benefits and reduce the poverty level in society, the message read.

The study analyzed the impact of the social protection system on the poverty level. According to the calculations, in the absence of social payments, the child poverty rate in the country would have increased by 1.6 times.

The child poverty rate was calculated based on data from a Household Budget Survey data collected by the Statistics Agency in collaboration with the World Bank.

The previous similar research was held in 2021, with 10,000 households having been surveyed. In 2023, over 16,000 households were surveyed across the country.

According to the results, the child poverty rate decreased from 21.5% in 2021 to 13.7% in 2023. Poverty reduction trends vary markedly between urban and rural areas. In particular, in rural areas, the child poverty rate decreased from 24.6% to 14.5%, while in urban areas it decreased from 18% to 13%.

The study found that the regions with the lowest level of child poverty are Navoi region and Tashkent city, while a relatively high level of child poverty is observed in Syrdarya and Jizzakh regions.

Social benefits analysis

According to the National Agency of Social Protection, the total coverage of social benefits in Uzbekistan in 2023 amounted to 10.8 million people.

The coverage of low-income families with child benefits and financial aid amounted to 9 million people from 2.1 million low-income families and 72,500 beneficiary families, with a total amount of payments of 12.3 trillion sums.

cerr, child poverty, unicef

The CERR analyzed the distribution of social benefits among various groups of households. The effectiveness and targeting of the social protection system was assessed by analyzing the distribution, coverage, and adequacy of social benefits, as well as their impact on the poverty level.

The study primarily focuses on three main categories: old-age pensions, social assistance, which includes child benefits, and child benefits themselves. Each target group was analyzed separately. Pension benefits were calculated only for households with elderly members, child benefits were assessed solely for households with children, and social benefits were examined across all households.

Furthermore, the results were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of households receiving targeted social transfers, indicating the impact before and after such transfers. This method helps discern variations in their effects on different segments of the population.

Experts note that the existing social protection system directs most of its resources to the least affluent segments of the population. However, according to the calculations, almost 6% of those receiving social assistance belong to the 20% most affluent households, including 4% of households receiving child benefits.

In contrast, old-age pensions are distributed relatively evenly among all population groups, reflecting a universal approach to ensuring the well-being of the elderly population.

Impact of social assistance on poverty level

The study analyzed the impact of the social protection system on the poverty level.

That way, in case of insufficient income, when incomes are below the poverty line, the absence of social payments would increase the poverty rate from 11% to 20.8%, child poverty from 13.7% to 21.8% and the share of deprived pensioners from 7.3% to to 31.4%, the experts concluded.