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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Ireland is the 10th-best country for children

Published 10/04/2013 | 08:13

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Ireland is the 10th-best country to live in, a new study of industrialised countries has found.

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A Unicef report has found numbers of children smoking and drinking have declined - however, bullying has increased.

And Irish children rank the highest on physical activity and have at least one hour of exercise a day.

However, when it comes to the number of 15 to 19 year old not in education, employment or training, Ireland is at the bottom of the table.

The highest ranking country is the Netherlands whilst the UK comes in at 21st out of 29 countries.

The Netherlands is followed by Norway and Iceland.

See how we stand in the league table (PDF)

The report card is the result of research carried out between 2001 and 2010.

Ireland has a relatively low child poverty rate of 8.5% but those who do fall below the poverty line fall harder than in other countries, giving Ireland one of the largest child poverty gaps.

A rise in the number of children who are overweight puts Ireland ahead of the UK, Germany and France. Over 15% of children in Ireland are overweight by BMI.The survey finds that Ireland is one of only 5 countries to experience an increase in bullying during the 2000s. One quarter of children would not label classmates as being kind.It was also revealed that children in Ireland find it easiest to talk to their mothers (83%) followed by fathers (68%).

Peter Power, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland said; "UNICEF's Report Card 11 shows huge progress has been made in this country across many areas of children's lives, over the last ten years. We should credit today's young people with making smarter decisions when it comes to their health and ensure that the government continues to make the decisions for children, particularly early in life when it can make the most difference."

The Report Card 11 results for Ireland include:

  • 10th place overall for child well-being among the 29 OECD countries. The first decade of the 2000s saw a halving of low family affluence and an increase in the number of children participating in further education. 86% of children in Ireland are happy with their lives.
  • Ireland has a relatively low child poverty rate of 8.5% but those who do fall below the poverty line fall harder than in other countries, giving Ireland one of the largest child poverty gaps.
  • Significant decline in children smoking and more modest declines in drinking and teenage pregnancies.
  • Ireland has the highest rate of children exercising with almost 1 in 3 children exercising for at least an hour a day. 70% of children eat breakfast every day.
  • A rise in the number of children who are overweight puts Ireland ahead of the UK, Germany and France. Over 15% of children in Ireland are overweight by BMI.
  • The number of 15-19 year olds not in education, employment or training puts Ireland at bottom of table.
  • One of only 5 countries to experience an increase bullying during the 2000s. One quarter of children would not label classmates as being kind.
  • Children in Ireland find it easiest to talk to their mothers (83%) followed by fathers (68%).

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