Health Children's well-being in 29 Western countries (UNICEF report)


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Seven years ago I analysed the UNICEF report on children well-being in rich countries. Here is a new report for 2013, which has eight additional countries.

The Netherlands still tops the ranking, followed by Scandinavian countries like before, except Denmark which fell from 3rd to 11th position. Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Ireland remain toward in the upper tier.

The decline in children well-being in Denmark is explained mostly by a severe drop in health and safety (4th => 23th), and a more moderate one in material well-being (4th => 12th). Education remains stable and there has even been an improvement in behaviours and risks.

The low score for health and safety can be attributed to one of the lowest immunization rate among Danish children (88% against an average of 95% for other countries). The decline in material well-being is attributable to a poor score in 'child poverty gap' (gap between the poverty line and the median income of those below the poverty line). These don't seem to be very serious factors though.

The USA and the UK were dead last in the 2006 report. Things have actually got worse for the USA, which now ranks 26th out of 29 countries, just behind Greece, and only doing better than Lithuania, Latvia and Romania.

On the other hand, the situation in Britain has improved, passing from 21st out of 21 to 16th out of the 29. All dimensions improved except education, which has worsened.

Spain, which had performed well in 2006 (5th position) has fallen to the 19th place in the ranking, with a clear deterioration of behaviours & risks (5th => 20th), education (15th => 26th) and material well-being (12th => 24th).

Unsurprisingly the financial crisis has also taken its toll on Greece, which drops from 13th to 25th, with behaviours & risks (8th => 25th) most severely affected.

Behaviours & risks include being overweight, not eating breakfast and fruit, not doing enough exercise, high teenage fertility rate, teenage smoking, alcohol, cannabis, children exposure to violence, fighting and bullying.

Greece has experienced a considerable increase in overweight teenagers, jumping from 16% in 2006 to 21% in 2013. Greece also ranks low for exercise and eating breakfast.

I have made a map to show the average ranking of each country.

I am ashamed that read this.
I am ashamed that the financial crisis affects to underprivileged most of all.
I am ashamed of our politicians, as Spanish politicians as politicians from brussels.
I am ashamed as politicians to have brought this crisis, always acting in favor of capital and against the people.
I personally see that the situation in Spain does not do more to get worse, every day I wake up with:

? More taxes (just to pay debt).
? More people lose their homes because they can not pay.
? More drastics cuts in education and health.
? more corrupt politicians.
? more unemployment.
? more injustice.

I am very pessimistic about the future And every day I ask myself:
What will the future generations?

Spain, the second EU country in child poverty, surpassed only by Romania (we are the "champions"!!!!):
Horrible the situation is in Greece.

The country is dying slowly ...
It's been 10 years since I wrote about this UNICEF report of children's well being. I had missed the 2020 report, which measures 41 countries against three main categories: health, skills and happiness. They analyse issues such as poverty, exclusion and pollution, which can threaten children's mental well-being, physical health and opportunities to develop skills.

Here is the overall ranking with the ranking in the three main categories.

Back in 2013 I was saying that children well-being in the United States had gotten worse. The US then ranked 26th out of 29 countries. It now ranks 36th out of 38 countries, only ahead of Bulgaria and Chile (which were not assessed in the last report). Generally children in English-speaking countries fare considerably worse than in other rich countries. The UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all rank in the bottom league alongside much poorer countries like Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. English-speaking countries perform especially badly for the mental well-being of children. That's also true of Japan and South Korea.

One country that fell a lot in the ranking is Iceland, which dropped from the 3rd to the 24th position.

In contrast, Spain improved the most, passing from 19th to 6th. France also went up, from 13th to 7th.

Here is the league table of the 2013 report for comparison.

If we want to know more specifically what each country is doing right or wrong, this table is interesting. For example the United States scores very well for the economy and environmental factors (such as air quality), but is dead last for social/family policies (parental leave, child poverty) and also ranks badly for educational policies (early childhood care, teenage NEETs) and health policies, as well as societal problems. Nothing surprising there.

If you prefer visualising the data on a map, here is a comparison of the 2013 and 2020 reports.




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