Low standards of child well-being associated with greater income inequality

November 17th, 2007 - 3:50 pm ICT by admin  

London , Nov 17 (ANI): A recent study has found that child well being in richer countries is governed more by income inequality than economic growth.

Poorer children fare less well than richer ones in each society. But a recent UNICEF report detailing 40 indicators of child well-being, said children in the UK and the USA fared worse than in any of the other rich countries. The new research examines whether the harm is done by being poor, or by being poorer than others.

For the study, the researchers examined whether measures of child wellbeing are closely related to average income (material living standards) or to the scale of income differences (inequality) in each society.

They studied the relationship in two different settings among 23 rich countries, and then, independently, among the 50 states of the USA (and District of Columbia ).

The study identified that among the 23 rich countries, the UNICEF index of child including (material wellbeing, health and safety, educational wellbeing, family and peer relationships, unhealthy and risky behaviours, and subjective wellbeing) were unrelated to average income, but was strongly related to the size of the income differences between rich and poor within each country.

The data which was analysed for teenage birth, juvenile homicides, infant mortality, low birth, educational performance, high school drop out rate found that the results were similar among the 59 states of U.S.A who were strongly liked to the scale of income inequality in each state than to its average income.

The authors concluded that childrens wellbeing was not higher, either among the richest of the 50 US states, or among the richest of the affluent countries. It was rather, better in those countries and states in which had smaller income differences.

We know enough to say that inequalities affect child wellbeing and that relative poverty kills as effectively as any disease, BMJ quoted the authors, as saying.

They believe that we need to get better at identifying the programmes that work and much better at getting governments to invest in the wellbeing, they added.

The study was published in the British Medical Journal. (ANI)

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