Best countries for children

By Nicole Caldwell for Stacker

Children around the world live vastly different lives, from places where child labor is legal and common (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Myanmar), to countries where education is compulsory and lengthy (Norway, the United Kingdom, and South Korea). Some nations, such as Italy, even require children to attend preschool. On other fronts, marriage and motherhood among teenage girls are still widespread (even in developed countries), and both are often viewed by international organizations and human rights groups as inhibitors to economic and social growth.

To find out which countries in the world are best for children, Stacker looked to a 2018 report from international NGO Save the Children, a group working to promote the welfare and rights of young people everywhere. Save the Children’s report is the result of data the group compiled on the livelihoods of children worldwide from 2012 to 2017. Save the Children created an index score on a scale from 1 to 1,000 that reflects the average level of performance across a set of indicators related to child health, education, labor, marriage, childbirth, and violence. Countries with higher scores are better at protecting and providing for children. Data points specifically look at under-5 mortality rates (deaths per 1,000 live births); percent of primary and secondary school age children not in school; percent of girls aged 15 to 19 currently married or in union; and births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19.

Findings reveal that Niger comes in last internationally for children, with an index score of just 388; while the United States ranks at a middling #36 with a score of 945 in between Russia and Belarus. Singapore and Slovenia are tied for first place with an index score of 987.

Stacker broke this listing out into the top-50 countries for children internationally and included the percent of a country’s population that is 0 to 14 years old for reference, provided by the CIA World Factbook.  

Read on to discover the 50 best countries in the world for children.

Eco-friendly replacements for 50 plastic items in your life

By Nicole Caldwell for Stacker

About 300 million tons of plastic are produced from oil each year. Almost half of that is used for single-use packaging, such as plastic wrap on food, containers for personal care items, bottles for cleaning products, and other everyday purchases—including the plastic bags we carry them home in. Worse, only about 9% of all the plastic ever created has been recycled. And things are getting worse, not better: Almost half of all the plastic ever made has been created since 2000, the production of plastic is way up, and recycling alone can't stop the flow of plastic pollution into the world's oceans.

As more statistics come out about the volume of plastic ocean pollution (18 billion pounds annually from coastal regions alone) and the effect that is having on marine life (267 species worldwide have already been adversely affected), people have begun eschewing plastic products for zero-waste, eco-friendly options. Most global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, which has inspired thousands of companies to seek alternatives to plastic items from zero-waste personal care products and kitchen items to office equipment and ethically sourced, sustainable clothing.

Stacker has pored over the research and scoured product reviews and company backgrounds to compile this gallery of 50 easy, eco-friendly replacements for common plastic items in your life. Prices have been provided, and represent the cost for long-term use, except in the case of items that run out, like toothpaste. Those numbers should be compared to an individual's or family's spending on similar, single-use products over time for items such as sandwich bags or disposable razors. Wherever possible, products listed in this gallery represent less expensive options over time to their plastic, disposable counterparts.

In the interest of being most serviceable, Stacker has left two of the most ubiquitous, eco-friendly items—stainless steel drink canteens and reusable shopping bags—off the list in order to make room for items that may be less well-known. Wherever possible, products referenced come in zero-waste, plastic-free packaging, as well.

Continue reading to discover 50 easy alternatives to everyday, plastic items.

Nature Preschools Offer an Education That Classrooms Can't

Nature Preschools Offer an Education That Classrooms Can't

Children today spend just half the time outside that their parents’ generation did. The consequences of our nature-deficit disorder are still largely anecdotal, but obvious: shorter attention spans. Diminished cognition. Lowered creative-thinking skills. Childhood obesity.