Thursday, 11 April 2013

UNICEF Report Card 11: Child wellbeing in rich countries

UNICEF’s Research Office has released Report Card 11, charting the well-being of children in 29 rich countries. The report is based partly on HBSC international data, and focus on comparisons of indicators both between countries and over time.

The report ranks countries based on five indicators: material well-being (monetary and material deprivation), health and safety (health at birth, preventive health services, and childhood mortality), education (participation and achievement), behaviour and risks (health behaviours, risk behaviours, and exposure to violence), and housing and environment (Housing and environmental safety). It notes that overall, most of these areas show improvement over the last decade, and that the Netherlands and the three Nordic countries of Finland, Iceland and Norway fare best in terms of child well-being.

What is the situation for young people in the UK?

Report Card 11 does not distinguish between the separate countries of the UK but have grouped England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland together. In the overall ranking, the UK is placed 16 out of 29 countries – an improvement of 4 points since the early 2000s when the UK ranked second to last of 21 countries.

There is variation between the different domains in where individual countries are placed – the UK is ranked 10th for Housing & Environment, 14th for Material Well-being, 15th for Behaviours & Risk, 16th for Health & Safety, and 24th for Education. Positive changes from the early to the late 2000s are evident for young people in the UK across most of the indicators, with particularly big changes noted for risk behaviours like smoking, drinking, using cannabis and being involved in physical fighting.

The report also looked at how children and young people themselves rate the quality of their life, and for self-reported life satisfaction, the UK ranks 14th, suggesting that young people here rate the quality of their lives slightly better than objective indicators would suggest.

More information (including the full report) is available from UNICEF here.

The HBSC International report for 2009/ 10 is available from the WHO here

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