State of the World's Children

1564-975X (online)
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Each year, the United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF’s) flagship publication, The State of the World's Children, closely examines a key issue affecting children. The report includes supporting data and statistics.

Also available in French, Spanish
The State of the World's Children 2012

The State of the World's Children 2012

Children in an Urban World You do not have access to this content

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31 Dec 2012
9789210597586 (PDF)

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While cities have long been associated with employment, development and economic growth, hundreds of millions of children in the world’s urban areas are growing up amid scarcity and deprivation. This publication presents the hardships these children face as violations of their rights, as well as impediments to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. It examines major phenomena shaping the lives of children in urban settings, including migration, economic shocks and acute disaster risk. It also provides examples of efforts to improve the urban realities that children confront and identifies broad policy actions that should be included in any strategy to reach excluded children and foster equity in urban settings driven by disparity.

Also available in French, Spanish
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  • Acknowledgements
  • Action: Putting children first in an urban world

    The experience of childhood is increasingly urban. Over half the world’s people – including more than a billion children – now live in cities and towns. Many children enjoy the advantages of urban life, including access to educational, medical and recreational facilities. Too many, however, are denied such essentials as electricity, clean water and health care – even though they may live close to these services. Too many are forced into dangerous and exploitative work instead of being able to attend school. And too many face a constant threat of eviction, even though they live under the most challenging conditions – in ramshackle dwellings and overcrowded settlements that are acutely vulnerable to disease and disaster.

  • Foreword

    When many of us think of the world’s poorest children, the image that comes readily to mind is that of a child going hungry in a remote rural community in sub-Saharan Africa – as so many are today.

  • Children in an increasingly urban world

    The day is coming when the majority of the world’s children will grow up in cities and towns. Already, half of all people live in urban areas. By mid-century, over two thirds of the global population will call these places home. This report focuses on the children – more than one billion and counting – who live in urban settings around the world.

  • Children’s rights in urban settings

    Children whose needs are greatest are also those who face the greatest violations of their rights. The most deprived and vulnerable are most often excluded from progress and most difficult to reach. They require particular attention not only in order to secure their entitlements, but also as a matter of ensuring the realization of everyone’s rights.

  • Urban challenges

    This chapter examines some of the phenomena shaping the lives of children in urban areas, from their reasons for moving to the city and their experience of migration to the challenges of getting by in the face of economic shocks, violence and disasters.

  • Towards cities fit for children

    Many cities have pursued initiatives to improve children’s well-being. This chapter outlines some examples of good practice spanning service delivery, social protection and safe and inclusive urban environments. These cases illustrate the myriad possibilities and benefits of including children and their interests in urban design and management.

  • Uniting for children in an urban world

    This edition of The State of the World’s Children has sought to shed light on the experience of children and young people in urban areas, especially the poorest and most marginalized. It has covered issues as diverse as sanitation, gangs and governance. And it has taken in the broad sweep of global trends and focused in on individual, concrete examples of positive practices in specific urban neighbourhoods. Throughout, it has been concerned about disparity and the harm it does to the youngest members of the human family.

  • References
  • Statistical tables
  • Abbreviations
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