Doing Better for Children

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Drawing on a wide range of data sources, this publication constructs and analyses different indicators of child well-being across the OECD. These indicators cover six key areas: material well‑being; housing and environment; education; health and safety; risk behaviours; and quality of school life. They show that no one OECD country performs well in all areas and that every OECD country can do more to improve children’s lives.

How much countries are spending on children and when is also closely considered, the first time such a comparative exercise has been undertaken across the OECD. Additional chapters offer detailed examinations of countries’ policies for children under age three, the impact of single parenthood on children and the effect of inequalities across generations. The publication concludes with broad policy recommendations for improving child well-being.

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Comparative Child Well-being across the OECD

This chapter offers an overview of child well-being across the OECD. It compares policy-focussed measures of child well-being in six dimensions, chosen to cover the major aspects of children’s lives: material well-being; housing and environment; education; health and safety; risk behaviours; and quality of school life. Each dimension is a composite of several indicators, which in turn have been selected in part because they are relatively amenable to policy choices. This chapter presents the theory, methodology and data sources behind the measures, as well as the indicators for each member country in a comparable fashion. It is at the individual level that the indicators can best inform policy and comparisons can be most readily made. The data is reported by country and, where possible, by sex, age and migrant status. All indicators presented in the framework are already publically available. There has been no attempt to collect new data. Note that no single aggregate score or overall country ranking for child well-being is presented. Nevertheless, it is clear that no OECD country performs well on all fronts.

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