The UK has come bottom of a Unicef league table for child well-being across 21
The study looked at a total of 40 indicators in six categories. Here is a
summary of some of the report's key findings.
European countries dominate the top half of the overall league table, with
the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland claiming the top four places.
The UK and United States are in the bottom third of the rankings for five of
the six categories covered. The six categories are material well-being, family
and peer relationships, health and safety, behaviour and risks, and children's
own sense of well-being (educational and subjective).
No country features in the top third of the rankings for all six dimensions
of child well-being, although the Netherlands and Sweden come close to achieving
Child poverty remains above the 15% mark in the three southern European
countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy) and in three Anglophone countries (the US,
the UK, and Ireland).
There is no obvious relationship between levels of child well-being and GDP
per capita. The Czech Republic, for example, achieves a higher overall rank for
child well-being than several much wealthier countries.
A total of nine countries - all in northern Europe - have brought child
poverty rates below 10%.
FAMILY AND PEER RELATIONSHIPS
Approximately 80% of children in the countries under review are living with
both parents. This ranges from more than 90% in Greece and Italy to less than
70% in the UK and 60% in the US.
Even in the lowest ranked countries, almost two-thirds of children still
regularly eat the main meal of the day with their families, with France and
Italy maintaining the tradition most of all.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Fewer than one in every 10,000 young people die before the age of 19 as a
result of accident, murder, suicide or violence.
European countries occupy the top half of the report's child health and
safety table, with the top five places claimed by the four Nordic countries and
Infant mortality rates range from under three per 1,000 births in Iceland
and Japan, to over six per 1,000 in Hungary, Poland and the US.
BEHAVIOUR AND RISKS
The overall OECD league table of young people's risk behaviours sees the UK
at the foot of the rankings by "a considerable distance".
Risk behaviours considered in the study include smoking, being drunk, using
cannabis, fighting and bullying, and sexual behaviour.
Only about a third of young people eat fruit daily.
Only about a third of young people exercise for an hour or more on five or
more days a week - youths take most exercise in Ireland, Canada and the US, and
the least in Belgium and France.
Finland, Canada, Australia, and Japan head this particular table in the
The UK is rated in the bottom third of the table for educational well-being.
Four southern European countries - Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal -
occupy the bottom four places.
Children's subjective sense of well-being appears to be markedly higher in
the Netherlands, Spain, and Greece and markedly lower in Poland and the UK.
Approximately 80% of young people consider their health to be good or
excellent in every OECD country except the UK.
The Netherlands, Norway and Austria, are at the head of the table with over
a third of their schoolchildren admitting to "liking school a lot".