Located in the mountainous Caucasus region, Georgia has a declining population of approximately 3.7 million people.
Like its neighbours, Georgia is in a process of urbanization, and approximately 60% of the country’s population now live in urban areas.
However, the country experiences a significant urban-rural divide: twice as many people live in poverty in rural settings compared to urban environments.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Georgia since 1996.
More than 20% of Georgia’s population lives below the national poverty line, rising to almost 30% in rural areas.
Further, around a quarter of all children live in households where no parent has full-time employment, yet only 15% Georgian’s population receive social assistance.
Children born into poverty are more likely to experience a wide range of health problems, as well as face social exclusion that further worsen their future prospects.
Relative to its overall population, Georgia has one of the world’s highest rates of internally displaced people. More than 300,000 people, 6% of the population, are internally displaced, some for more than 20 years.
For this population, there are fewer employment opportunities. Access to services, including healthcare, remains a challenge. These factors impact the rights of internally displaced children as well.
Unemployment, low income and rising costs of living have resulted in one in 10 children under 5 years old being malnourished. This contributes to the country’s high infant and under-five mortality, as well as many children experiencing conditions such as anemia.
Such nutritional deficiencies have multiple effects on children’s physical and mental development, from an inability to concentrate in school to poor cognitive function, and poor growth and well-being. Their immune systems are often weakened and this results in illness and disease.