Unicef has just released a report assessing the well-being of children in the top 21 wealthiest countries (for which there is appropriate data; see below).
The [report] looks at six dimensions of child well-being: material well-being, health and safety, educational well-being, family and peer relationships, behaviors and risks, and young people's own perceptions of their well-being.
Both the U.S. and Britain were in the bottom two-thirds of five of the six categories, and came in dead last overall, by a considerable margin. The overall results:
(Note: Australia, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, the Slovak Republic, South Korea, and Turkey were excluded due to lack of data).The U.S. came in last on health and safety:
While none of the countries studied can claim "mission accomplished" in securing child well-being in every measurement, the United States fared particularly poorly. It ranked last in health and safety, primarily because of high rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, and deaths from accidents and injuries.
No great surprise, given the persistent legacies of Reagan and Thatcher:
One of the study's researchers, Jonathan Bradshaw, said children fared worse in the US and Britain -- despite high overall levels of national wealth -- because of greater economic inequality and poor levels of public support for families.
“What they have in common are very high levels of inequality, very high levels of child poverty, which is also associated with inequality, and in rather different ways poorly developed services to families with children,” said Bradshaw, a professor of social policy at the University of York in Britain.
“They don’t invest as much in children as continental European countries do,” he said, citing the lack of day care services in both countries and poorer health coverage and preventative care for children in the U.S.
More discussion of causal factors here.