The United States scored last, or second-to-last in the UNICEF 2020 report on children’s rights and well-being among the 12 countries in this comparison.

Child Welfare 1

COLOR CODING
GreenRanked first for statistic
RedRanked last for statistic
 UNICEF 2017
Mental well-beingPhysical HealthSkillsChild income poverty
Australia35281917.1
Canada31301817.2
Denmark5479.9
France718519.9
Germany16102115.5
Italy9311525.5
Japan3712714.8
Netherlands19313.5
Norway118112.0
Sweden2251418.0
United Kingdom29192626.2
United States32383223.1

SOURCES

UNICEF Innocenti Report Card 16, 2020

Country performance across six child-relevant indicators, pg. 9.

Mental Well-being

Rank of average country performance across two indicators: life satisfaction (15 years of age) and adolescent suicide (15-19 years of age).

Physical Health

Rank of average country performance across two indicators: child mortality rate (5-14 years of age) and percentage of children overweight (5–19 years).

Skills

Rank of average country performance across two indicators: proficiency in mathematics and reading (15 years of age) and social skills (15 years of age).

Child income poverty

Innocenti Report Card 18: Child Poverty in the Midst of Wealth (2023)
Child poverty rate (% of children living in households with equivalent income lower than 50% of the national median). Average of 2019-2021.

Page updated on 2/16/2024.

NOTES

We Americans Neglect Our Children

Nicholas Kristoff

February 7, 2024.
New York Times. “Children are more likely to go hungry or live in poverty in America than in most of our peer countries, and they are also much more likely to die young — because of drugs, guns, accidents and an inequitable health care system.”

“School Shootings Spark Everyday Worries: Parent and Child Trends Survey 2018”

September 18, 2018.
Children’s Defense Fund. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, fear of a school shooting is the second top worry for 6 – 17 year old children. Over a third of children report not feeling safe in their neighborhood. Four in ten children do not feel safe in school.

Four times as many children agree than disagree that guns are too easy to get in America (53 percent to 14 percent) and more than three times as many parents agree than disagree (71 percent to 20 percent). Black children and parents were more likely to agree with this statement. 70 percent of Black children and 85 percent of Black parents agree it is too easy to get a gun in America.