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Childhood: Which Is the Best Country in the World to Be a Child?


One in four children are denied a safe and happy childhood. The worst country to be a child is Niger, the best is Norvergia. This is underlined by Save The Children, who presented in 2017 the first End of Childhood Index.

This index is part of the report “Stolen Childhood“.

The report points out that 1 child in 6 has no access to education, while 168 million are involved in child labour, more than 16 thousand children under 5 years of age die every day from easily treatable diseases, 156 million have growth problems due to malnutrition.

In addition, 28 million children are fleeing war and persecution and more than 75,000 have been killed in 2015 alone. Denied childhood affects girls in a particular way: every 7 seconds a girl under 15 gets married, every 2 seconds a girl gives birth to a child.

Stolen Childhood

The study shows that Niger is the country where children are most threatened and exposed to risks to their lives and their development. Angola, Mali, Central African Republic and Somalia follow in the ranking. Norway, Slovenia and Finland, on the other hand, are the countries where childhood meets the most favourable conditions.

263 million children do not go to school. On the other hand, 168 million, more than all the children living in Europe, are involved in various forms of child labour. This includes dangerous or heavy work that seriously endangers their physical and psychological safety. Six million children die each year from easily preventable causes, such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria, before reaching five. 156 million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition that seriously compromises their growth.

In 2015 alone, more than 75,000 children and young people under 20 years of age were murdered worldwide. This corresponds to more than 200 people per day. In addition, 15 million girls get married every year before the age of 18, often with older men. Four million of them get married before they turn 15, with devastating impacts on their health and future opportunities. Every 2 seconds a girl under 19 gives birth in the world, for an annual total of 17 million.

Children fleeing from war and persecution

In 2016, about 28 million children, 1 in 80, have been forced to leave their homes to flee wars and persecution. Of all these kids, 10 million are refugees, 1 million asylum seekers and 17 million are internally displaced. These children are very often denied the right to health, education and protection. Syria, as emerges from the ranking drawn up by Save the Children, is the country with the highest number of displaced people (more than 12 million people, representing 65% of the total population). After Syria there are South Sudan, Somalia and the Central African Republic, where about 20% of the population is displaced.

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