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.