U.S. Children Less Satisfied with Life than Those of other Developed Nations

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Life is not as satisfying for children in the United States, compared with those in other developed nations.


A new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on children’s well-being in 29 countries revealed that, during the years 2009 and 2010, the U.S. ranked only 23rd in terms of life satisfaction for those age 11, 13 and 15.


The U.S. finished just ahead of Canada, as well as Slovakia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. Between 75% and 85% of children in these countries rated their life satisfaction as above average.


Nations with the highest ratings from children were the Netherlands, Iceland, Spain, Finland and Greece. About 90% of the children in those countries reported a high level of life satisfaction during those years.


The same report also ranked nations based on the percentage of children living in poverty. This key statistic may explain why the U.S. finished so low in terms of children’s life satisfaction, given it finished almost dead last (34th out of 35 countries surveyed) in the child poverty rate category


More than 20% of American children fall below a relative poverty line, which UNICEF defines as living in a household that earns less than half of the national median.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

How 35 Countries Compare On Child Poverty (the U.S. Is Ranked 34th) (Posted by Max Fisher, Washington Post)

Child Well-Being in Rich Countries: A Comparative Overview (UNICEF) (pdf) (see pages 38-43)

More Kids Are Living in Poverty and Exposed to Air Pollution (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)

U.S. Poverty Rate Is Creeping Toward a 50-Year High (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Vicki Baker, AllGov)        

U.S. Ranks Second Worst in UNICEF Study of Child Relative Poverty in 35 Richer Nations (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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