Report Card 11

Report Card 11 from UNICEF’s Office of Research is an opportunity to look at how children are faring in the world’s richest countries. By providing an overview of child well-being across 29 industrialised countries, it clearly shows that child poverty is not inevitable. Many countries are doing much better at protecting their most vulnerable children and there are valuable lessons to be learned. From these lessons, we can work to ensure that all children are provided with the opportunities and skills they need to grow up and develop to the best of their ability.


For the first time, we have been able to track data across the first decade of the 2000's. By comparing data on child well-being across 29 countries, we are able to discover what policies are working for children. Child poverty is not an inevitability- we must accept that it is policy susceptible therefore our actions and responsibilities are to ensure that countries get it right. We must ask ourselves why are we not doing as well as other countries and what can we do to improve outcomes for children? This league table shows us what is possible.

What emerges is a story largely of progress on most measures of children’s well-being but many challenges remain. We are now faced with the impact of three years of economic hardship which does not bode well for present or future generations of children.

The UNICEF Research Office has begun to look at areas which are more difficult to measure but no picture of a child’s life would be complete without. What do children have to say about their own lives? How is their relationship with their guardians and peers? How do they rate their own happiness?  Only by developing our understanding of children’s lives, can we work to improve them. You can downloaded the full report here

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Globally, Report Card 11 shows a decade of progress with the Netherlands retaining its position at number one, followed by four more Nordic countries - Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The report does not show a strong relationship between per capita GDP and overall child well-being.

The full Report Card is available to download here