Saturday, March 31, 2007

U.S. Child Well-Being Report Says We're Not Doing Well

This woman walks into a butcher shop and asks to see a whole chicken. The butcher hands her one and the woman proceeds to inspect it up, down, sideways, and every which way. She even sniffs it. She hands it back and says no thanks.

The butcher responds: "Madam, could you pass a test like that?"

UNICEF had such a test that the US didn't pass. In fact, we flunked terribly. We came in 20th out of 21.

UNICEF reviewed various tests and performed surveys within the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and compiled a report entitled ‘Children’s Welfare in Rich Countries.’

According to the report, there are six indicators of well-being for children: health and safety; education; economic well-being; family and social relationships; conduct and risk; and the child’s own perception of well-being in addition to traditional measures or mortality rates, poverty levels, school achievement and health and immunization statistics.

The US scored poorly in every category:
  • Health and safety = 21st out of 21
  • Educational well-being = 12th
  • Family and peer relationships = 20th
  • Behavior and risks = 20th
  • Material well-being = 17th
The UK and the US are in the bottom third of the rankings for five of the six dimensions reviewed.
The true measure of a nation’s standing is
how well it attends to its children – their
health and safety, their material security,
their education and socialization, and
their sense of being loved, valued, and
included in the families and societies into
which they are born.
We've been sidetracked for too long from providing meaningful services and support to Americans in general and our children in particular. It's time to repair the infrastructure that has made America a great country. This isn't family values nonsense; it's necessary for our future well-being. Each measure on UNICEF's scale needs our attention and investment.

Download the full report.