A report by UNICEF has provided mixed news for Irish parents with its findings ranging from very good to seriously bad. The report listed an average rank in the four elements of child well-being: material well-being, health, education, and behaviours and risks.
The report examined data from 2001 to 2010 for 29 developed OECD countries and ranked The Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden at the top of the list with the UK in 16th place and the US in 21st place. The listing of Ireland in 10th place is relatively good but does however mask some shortcomings in the Irish treatment of its younger citizens.
Ireland ranked tenth overall with the report finding:
- The Irish Child poverty rate of 8.5% is below the OECD average
- Alcohol use among 11 to 15 year old children sees Ireland in 14th place with the US in 1st place (least number of children who reported being drunk at least twice) and the UK in 23rd place. Cannabis use by the same age group saw Ireland in 13th place, the UK in 21st place and the US in 25th place.
- There has been a large decline in child and teenage smoking with Ireland ranked in 6th place, the US in 4th place and the UK in 7th place.
- Ireland ranks 20th in number of births to teenage girls (15 to 19 years) with the UK in 27th place and the US in 29th place (most births)
- The number of children overweight is increasing and Ireland is behind the UK, Germany and France in this regard. 15% are rated as overweight using the BMI scale. In the UK the rate is 12% while in the US it is 28%
- Ireland has the highest rate of child exercise with the US in 2nd place and the UK tenth place.
- In the 15 to 19 year old bracket Ireland is at the bottom of the list with regard to unemployment (includes not being in school or training)
- Participation in third level education (15 to 19 years old) sees Ireland in third place (92% participation) with the US in 25th place (82%), and the UK in 29th (73%).
- In terms of health and safety Ireland ranked 15th of the 29 countries.
- In education terms Ireland ranked 17th
- In housing and environment Ireland ranked 2nd
- Homicide rates in the 29 countries sees the US in 27th place with just under 5 deaths per 100,000 citizens. Ireland is in 24th place (just over 2 deaths per 100,000 citizens) and the UK in 14th place.
The full report can be accessed here: