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NEWS ITEMS


Child well-being in rich countries
Detail: The seventh Innocenti Report Card provides a comprehensive assessment of the lives and well-being of children and young people in 21 nations of the industrialized world. This report attempts to measure and compare well-being under six different dimensions: material well-being, health and safety, education, peer and family relationships, behaviors and risks, and young people’s own subjective sense of well-being. Relying heavily on available data, the report bases its concept of well-being on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and suggests that this definition of well-being corresponds to the views and the experience of a wide public.

The main findings include the following:

· Netherlands ranks first in overall child well-being comprising of the six dimensions.

· European countries dominate the top ranks, with Northern European countries claiming the top four places—Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

· All countries have weaknesses that need to be addressed, though Netherlands and Sweden came close to doing well on all dimensions.

· The United States and United Kingdom were awarded the lowest two ranks respectively in overall child well-being.

· No single dimension of well-being is a reliable proxy for overall well-being and several OECD countries find themselves with widely differing rankings for different dimensions of child well-being.

· There is no obvious relationship between levels of child well-being and GDP per capita. The Czech Republic achieves a higher overall rank than wealthier countries such as France, Austria, the United States and the United Kingdom.


Measurement and comparison of well-being across countries provides an indication of each country’s strengths and weaknesses. It highlights achievable examples and provides both government and civil society with information to argue and advocate for, and work towards fulfillment of children’s rights with the ultimate goal of improving lives. Above all comparisons such as in this report demonstrate that levels of well-being are not inevitable but policy susceptible, and hence there is potential for improvement in all OECD countries.
Source: Innocenti Report Card 7, 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/13_02_07_nn_unicef.pdf, http://www.unicef-icdc.org/presscentre/
Date: February 20 2007