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Child poverty in perspective: The UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries
  1. Nick J Spencer (n.j.spencer{at}
  1. School of Health and Social Studies, University of Warwick, United Kingdom


    The recently published UNICEF review of child well-being [1] concluded that children in the UK had the worst level of well-being of the 21 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The review ranked countries on 6 dimensions of well-being - material well-being, health and safety, educational well-being, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risks, and subjective well-being.

    Each dimension was informed by 3 components themselves made up of a variable number of indicators. For example, the 3 components of the material well-being dimension were relative income poverty, households without jobs and reported deprivation. Relative income poverty was represented by percentage of children living in homes with equivalent incomes less than 50% of the national median, households without jobs by percentage of children in households without an employed adult, and reported deprivation by percentage of children reporting low family affluence, percentage reporting few educational resources, and percentage reporting fewer than 10 books in the home. Z scores were calculated for each indicator based on data from each country and then averaged to give an average z score for each component. These in turn were averaged to give an average z score for each of the six dimensions.

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