Costa Rica

SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Costa Rica).

Costa Rica is a country located in Central America with Caribbean Sea and North Pacific Ocean coastlines. It has a population of 5.1 million people. Despite Costa Rica being an upper-middle-economy country, it faces an increasing rate of inequality. The government has put in place programmes to reduce poverty and eliminate the worst forms of child labour. However many children and young people continue to need support so that they can grow up safely.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Costa Rica since 1972.

Children are at risk

There are over 1.3 million children and young people in Costa Rica. Although living conditions have been improving in the past years, many children and young people continue to face many challenges. Urban monetary poverty decreased to 23%, while rural monetary poverty has remained at the same level at 26%. There’s been an increase in children and adolescents living in monetary poverty to 35%. To make matters worse, climate change and natural disasters such as droughts and floods are having negative effects on their lives.
Of increase in violence against children in 2021

Children and violence

Around 84,490 children and adolescents were victims of violence in 2021. Even though corporal punishment is prohibited by law in Costa Rica, UNICEF’s most recent statistics indicate that 46% of children aged between 2 and 14 years were disciplined using physical and/or psychological punishment. More work needs to be done to raise awareness on the negative effects of corporal punishment, and to provide parents, teachers and caregivers with positive parenting skills.

1 in 3
Children live in poverty in Costa Rica

Children live in poverty

Around 1 in 3 children live in poverty in Costa Rica. Households with a single parent, headed by women or without social insurance, are more likely to live in poverty. Climate change is also impacting the lives of the poorest population. Likewise, inflation has a negative effect: with food prices increasing, families find it harder to buy nutritious food.

Increase in cocaine seizures

Children at risk of crime

Costa Rica is highly vulnerable to drug trafficking because of its location and extensive maritime territory. Drug cartels use Costa Rica as a ‘pit-stop’ for hiding and transporting drugs. This drug trade also brings other problems. For example, Limón and Puntarenas are coastal provinces and are most affected with alarming increase in homicides. Both provinces have high rates of poverty and unemployment -making them the perfect place to recruit children and adolescents into gangs.

Together we can make a difference for children in Costa Rica

Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages Costa Rica has worked with other non-governmental organizations and companies to improve youth employability. They created a digital platform called YouthLinks which connects young people with mentors in the country and region. It helps them develop employment skills and allows them to share content and tools to better prepare for the job market (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Costa Rica).

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives