Launched ahead of the International Children’s Day, June 1, Save the Children’s Global Childhood Report 2019 includes the third annual End of Childhood Index, which finds that circumstances for children have improved in 173 out of 176 countries since 2000.
This means, according to the report, that there are 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year, 49 million fewer stunted children, 130 million more children in school, 94 million fewer child laborers, 11 million fewer girls forced into marriage or married early, three million fewer teen births per year, and 12,000 fewer child homicides per year.
In the year 2000, an estimated 970 million children were robbed of their childhoods due to ‘childhood enders’ - life-changing events like child marriage, early pregnancy, exclusion from education, child labor, sickness, malnutrition and violent deaths. That number today, according to Save the Children, has been reduced to 690 million - meaning that at least 280 million children are better off today than they would have been two decades ago. The organization noted that China and India together account for more than half of the global decline in stunting alone.
Of the eight ‘childhood enders’ examined in the report, displacement due to conflict is actually the only one on the rise, with 30.5 million more forcibly displaced people now than there were in 2000, an 80 percent increase.
The End of Childhood Index compared the latest data for 176 countries and assessed where the most and fewest children are missing out on childhood.
Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks 38th in the world with the overall score of 940. Croatia ranks 29th, Serbia ranks 46th, Montenegro ranks 50th and North Macedonia ranks 69th.
Singapore tops the rankings as the country that best protects and provides for its children, with eight Western European countries and South Korea also ranking in the top 10. Slovenia, which tied for top place two years in a row, in now down to joint third, with the overall score of 985.
At the same time, thee arguably the most powerful countries in the world, in terms of their combined economic, military and technological strength and global influence - the United States, China (ranked joint 36th with the overall score of 941), and Russia (38th, 940) - continue to badly trail most of Western Europe in helping children reach their full potential.