UNICEF: Half of Dominican children live in poverty

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — UNICEF has some grim findings about childhood poverty in the Dominican Republic.

The U.N. agency says half of Dominicans younger than 18 live in poverty, struggling to get enough food, access to safe drinking water and adequate housing. This despite the fact that the Caribbean country’s economy has been steadily growing since 1996.

The study conducted with the Dominican economy ministry found that only 30 percent of kids finish primary school and that only 18 percent finish secondary school on time. Those schools are in poor shape: Nearly half have no drinking water and nearly 60 percent have no toilets.

The report was released Wednesday. President Danilo Medina has previously pledged to spend 4 percent of GDP on education, more than previous governments in the country of 9 million people.

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