End of childhood… An improved transition
End of May, the international nonprofit organization ‘Save the Children’ published its annual Global Childhood Report that aims to provide a status of childhood welfare across the world. Results are quite positive with 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year, 115 million fewer children out of school, 11 million fewer married girls and 3 million fewer teen births per year since 2000. To quantify this situation, Save the Children designed the End of Childhood Index scores for countries that are calculated on a scale of 1 to 1,000. The scores measure the extent to which children in each country experience “childhood enders” such as death, severe malnutrition, being out of school and shouldering the burdens of adult roles in work, marriage and motherhood. This score is better compared to 2000 in every region in the world and some countries experienced some remarkable improvements in certain areas of interest. For example, the Philippines achieved an impressive rise in the number of children enrolled in school by offering incentives and flexible options, India has greatly reduced child marriage through legal reforms, programs to educate and empower girls as well as through public awareness campaigns, and Colombia is making good gains to reduce violence against children through public investments in safety and programs for at-risk youth.
At the top of the ranking, we find Singapore, EU countries, Korea, Japan and Australia. At its bottom, African countries trust the last 17 positions, just above Afghanistan. Close to the best in class, a group of countries attracts attention. Ranked respectively 35th, 36th ex-aequo and 38th, Kuwait, the United States, China and the Russian Federation obtained almost the same (good) score (940-942). These countries are really different from various points of view and the similar aggregated scores hide some particularities.
Indeed, the USA performed poorly for adolescent birth rate and child homicide rate that are strengths for China. Conversely, China performs disappointingly regarding under-5 mortality (health infrastructure proxy), child stunting and out-of-school children, whereas the USA outperforms its peers on these pillars.
We hope the trend will continue during the next 19 years and beyond. Then the worst situation for an end of childhood would be called adolescence : all (former) teenagers know it is not necessary a heavenly period, but “Global Childhood Report” would not be needed anymore.
Emeric Nicolas, Head of Data Science Dpt.
Sources : Save The Children