In 2021, 3.6 % of children below 16 years old in households with children, had unmet medical needs, indicating an increase of 2 percentage points (pp) since the last report in 2017 (1.6 %). This share was higher (5.3 %) for children living in households with one adult but slightly lower at 3.4 % for households with two or more adults.
Among EU members, the highest shares of children with unmet medical needs living in households with children were reported in Poland (7.3 %) and Latvia (6.4 %), followed by Hungary and Romania (both 4.7 %), and Spain (4.6 %).
In contrast, the lowest shares were reported in Austria (0.3%) and Luxembourg (0.4 %), followed by Croatia (0.9 %), and Malta, Lithuania, and Cyprus (all with 1.5 % each).
4.4 % of children did not have proper dental care
In 2021, the situation for dental care was similar though slightly worse than the unmet medical needs, as 4.4 % of the children living in households with children didn’t receive the dental care they needed, an increase of 1.8 pp since 2017. Looking at data for all EU countries, 11 registered a percentage of children with unmet dental care needs above the EU average.
This percentage was higher in households with one adult, with 7.1 % of the children not receiving the dental care they needed. Meanwhile, 4.0 % of the children living in households with two or more adults had unmet needs for dental care treatment.
In 2021, among the EU members, the highest shares of children with unmet needs for dental care living in households with children were registered in Latvia (7.7 %), followed by Spain (7.1 %), Hungary (7.0 %), Slovenia (6.8 %), and Portugal (6.4 %).
At the bottom of the scale, the lowest shares were registered in Luxembourg (0.6 %), Croatia (0.8 %), Sweden (1.1 %), and Austria and Italy (both with 1.2 %).
For more information:
- Statistics Explained article on health statistics – children
- Thematic section on living and income conditions
- Database on living and income conditions
- Data for Germany and Ireland: low reliability.
- The information was gathered by interviewing one member of a household that included at least one child aged below 16. Children’s medical and dental needs can be unmet due to various reasons, such as inability to afford the treatment, long waiting lists, long travel times or no means of transport, or lack of time because of work or caring for family members or others.