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Ireland is the 10th best place in the world to be a child

But UNICEF warns childhood must be protected during economic downturn.

Image: Young people via Shutterstock

IRELAND IS AMONG the top 10 best places in the world to be a child according to UNICEF.

The research that spanned 10 years (2001-2010) shows a decade of steady progress for Ireland’s children.

Among 29 OECD countries, Ireland placed 10th with 86 per cent of children saying they are happy with their lives.

The country has a relatively low child poverty rate of 8.5 per cent but those who do fall below the poverty line, falls harder than in other countries, giving Ireland one of the largest child poverty gaps.

The report also shows:

  • A significant decline in children smoking and more modest declines in drinking and teenage pregnancies.
  • Ireland has the highest rate of children exercising with almost 1 in 3 children exercising for at least an hour a day. Also, 70 per cent of children eat breakfast every day.
  • Over 15 per cent of children in Ireland are overweight by BMI, which puts Ireland ahead of the UK, Germany and France.
  • The number of 15-19-year-olds not in education, employment or training puts Ireland at the bottom of table.
  • One of only five countries to experience an increase bullying during the 2000s. One quarter of children would not label classmates as being kind.
  • Children in Ireland find it easiest to talk to their mothers (83 per cent) followed by fathers (68 per cent).

Although Peter Power, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland welcomed the report, but said it was important that children below the poverty line are not forgotten:

We are in danger of leaving our most vulnerable groups of children behind. There are young people finishing school faced with an uncertain future who need more options for further education and training.

UNICEF’s ‘Report Card 11 – Child well-being in rich countries’ was launched in Dublin by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the EU.

Globally, Report Card 11 shows a decade of progress with the Netherlands retaining its position at number one, followed by four more Nordic countries – Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Read: Happy International Day of the Girl >

More: Ireland increases aid for Horn of Africa famine victims >

About the author:

Amy Croffey

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