Canada gets low marks in UNICEF study of children | National Union of Public and General Employees

Canada gets low marks in UNICEF study of children

Ranks a dismal 17th in the material well-being of children among OECD countries.

Ottawa (6 Dec. 2010) - Canadian children suffer greater income inequality than most developed nations, says a new report from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

For the first time the report ranks 24 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in terms of equality in children’s health, education and material well-being.

Chart of UNICEF rankings - Toronto Star

The sad result is that it shows children in many rich nations being left behind.

“Falling behind is a critical issue not only for millions of individual children today but for the economic and social future of their nations tomorrow,” the report says.

Entitled, The Children Left Behind, the study assessed inequality by measuring the gap between the average child and the most disadvantaged children in three aspects of their lives — material well-being, educational achievement and physical health.

Canada ranks average overall but scores a dismal 17th place in the area of children’s material well-being, which includes family income and housing. Canada ranked third in the study's comparison of OECD education standards for children but dropped to ninth in health.

However, since all statistics collected were before the 2008 recession, child inequality has likely increased across the OECD since that time, the report notes.

Overall, the report found that the United States, Italy and Greece had the lowest child equality scores, meaning that these countries allow their most vulnerable children to fall further behind than other OECD countries.

The highest ranked countries in the study were Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

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