There’s no place like home. But when it comes to raising children, some countries fare better in terms of their environment and overall systems. In February 2020, the medical journal The Lancet published a study, which was co-authored by 40 child and healthcare organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO), that measured different countries’ aptitudes in terms of children’s well-being including health, education, and nutrition.
Among 180 countries that were listed in The Lancet’s “child flourishing index”, Norway was hailed as having the best environment to raise kids. The Nordic country is then followed by South Korea, the Netherlands, France, and Ireland.
The United States is positioned lower in the ranks at 39th place, ahead of China (43rd) and Cuba (46th).
What’s interesting is that these nations leading the list are also part of the world’s richest countries. So, they have the necessary resources to invest in superior systems to help cultivate child development like top-notch schools, well-equipped hospitals, and environmental policies. On the other hand, the countries at the bottom of the list—Somalia, Chad, and the Central African Republic—fell short on these elements.
However, despite these excellent systems, the WHO believes that no country is doing enough to support the new generations. According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the report just shows that world leaders are failing to protect the youth’s health, rights, and the planet.
Dr. Ghebreyesus also stressed that these findings should serve as a wake-up call for countries all over the world to give importance and invest in their children’s health and development, let their voices be heard, protect their rights, and build a better future for them.
The study also showed the countries’ ranking in terms of excess carbon emission levels including the projected levels by the year 2030. Countries that led the child flourishing index, unfortunately, fell short on their sustainability measures. The top country, Norway, dropped down to 156, while the U.S. is somewhere near the bottom of the list at 173.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore believes that today’s children and the next generations to come have to battle threats that were previously considered unimaginable in the past generations. They now have to face issues like climate crisis, obesity, and harmful commercial marketing.