- Several studies from Europe have over time shown that growing up in poverty has long lasting effects on children's physical and mental health, medical service utilization and criminal behavior. Poverty exists even today in developed countries such as the United States and Israel, where about 25% of children are living in poverty. This is a major public health problem of a magnitude markedly different from Scandinavian countries (3%). This short review presents data from the Israel National Insurance Institute research on poverty from 1998 and 1999, and includes a comparison with several other countries. It concludes that there is a need for further research into the effects of poverty on child development, to investigate resiliency, adaptive behaviors and find ways to make policy-relevant research.