The Republic of Lithuania is the southernmost Baltic country with a population of over 2.8 million people. It is the largest Baltic state in both population and territory.
Approximately 7% of the population are Polish, mostly living around the capital, Vilnius, and another 5% are Russian.
In recent years, the opportunities and living standard have improved for many families. However, Lithuania is among the countries with the highest rates of both alcoholism and suicide.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Lithuania since 1995.
Poverty rates in Lithuania have remained among the highest in Europe. More than 23% of the population are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This equates to 25% of almost 100,000, children between the ages of 6 and 19. Almost 8% of children live in extreme poverty.
Children are disproportionately affected by poverty, facing long-term consequences in educational outcomes, physical and intellectual development, and psychological health and well-being.
Energy poverty and unfit housing: Lithuania has the second highest rate in the European Union of children suffering from inadequately warm homes. Energy poverty affects 26% of children.
In addition, 19% of low-income families live in unfit homes with leaks, damp, and rot.
Growing up in a cold home and poor conditions affects a child’s physical and mental health, often leaving them without an appropriate place to do homework.
Most children in Lithuania lack quality nutrition.
Only 34% of children eat fruit daily, and only 32% eat vegetables. Almost 10% of households can’t afford adequate protein sources, which increases to over 20% in low-income households. As a result, almost 15% of school children are underweight.
Nutritional deficiencies impact children’s physical and mental development, affecting their health, well-being, and ability to concentrate in school.