Child Well-Being in Rich Countries - A Comparative Overview

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The league table opposite presents the latest available overview of child well-being in 29 of the world’s most advanced economies. Five dimensions of children’s lives have been considered: material well-being, health and safety, education, behaviours and risks, and housing and environment. In total, 26 internationally comparable indicators have been included in the overview. The table updates and refines the first UNICEF overview of child well-being published in 2007. Changes in child well-being over the first decade of the 2000s are examined in Part 3. Key findings • The Netherlands retains its position as the clear leader and is the only country ranked among the top five countries in all dimensions of child well-being. • The Netherlands is also theclear leader when well-being is evaluated by children themselves - with 95% of its children rating their own lives above the midpoint of the Life Satisfaction Scale. • Four Nordic countries - Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - sit just below the Netherlands at the top of the child well-being table. • Four southern European countries - Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain - are placed in the bottom half of the table. • The bottom four places in the table are occupied by three of the poorest countries in the survey, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, and by one of the richest, the United States. • Overall, there does not appear to be a strong relationship between per capita GDP and overall child well-being. The Czech Republic is ranked higher than Austria, Slovenia higher than Canada, and Portugal higher than the United States. • There are signs that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are beginning to close the gap with the more established industrial economies.

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