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 2016

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The State of the World's Children 2016

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30 June 2016
9789210582568 (PDF)

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The State of the World’s Children 2016, a UNICEF flagship report, argues that progress for the most disadvantaged children and families is the defining condition for delivering on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Millions of children’s lives around the world are blighted for no reason other than the country, gender or circumstances into which they are born. Failure to reach them now will fuel intergenerational cycles of disadvantage that will imperil their future and the future of the world.We have a clear choice to make: Invest in accelerated progress for the children being left behind, or face the consequences of a far more divided and unfair world by 2030.
Also available in Spanish, French
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  • Foreword - The state of the world's children
    As we look around the world today, we’re confronted with an uncomfortable but undeniable truth: Millions of children’s lives are blighted, for no other reason than the country, the community, the gender or the circumstances into which they are born.
  • Introduction - Reaching every child
    If the soul of a society can be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable members, then by a similar measure, a society’s future – its long-term prospects for sustainable growth, stability and shared prosperity – can be predicted by the degree to which it provides every child with a fair chance in life. Providing every child with that fair chance is the essence of equitable development. And as this edition of The State of the World’s Children argues, promoting equity is more than a moral obligation. It is both a practical and a strategic imperative, helping to break intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and thus reducing the inequalities that undermine all societies.
  • Child health: A fair start in life
    When it comes to children realizing their right to survive and develop, the odds are stacked against those from the poorest and most disadvantaged households. That any child should face diminished prospects of survival or decent health because of the circumstances of his or her birth is grossly unfair and a violation of that child’s rights. It is also costly in human, economic, social and political terms. Sustainable progress for today’s children and future generations requires a focus on equity – giving every child a fair chance. Reaching the most marginalized children is more than an ethical imperative; it is a precondition for meeting the 2030 goals on child health and well-being.
  • Education: Levelling the playing field
    Quality education has the power to end intergenerational cycles of inequity, improving the lives of children and the societies in which they live. Education can provide children with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life. It is associated with increased incomes, reduced poverty and improved health. But for education to play this role, it must begin with early childhood development and continue with quality learning opportunities that provide all children, especially the most disadvantaged, with a fair chance to thrive.
  • Children and poverty: Breaking the vicious cycle
    No one is more vulnerable to poverty than children. Poverty perpetuates the cycle of disadvantage and inequity, which robs millions of children of their potential and causes irreparable damage that reverberates throughout a lifetime. Putting children at the heart of poverty reduction is one of the best ways to break that cycle and create a level playing field for every child.
  • Pathways to equity
    Every child has the right to a fair chance – and every society has a stake in expanding opportunity, leaving no one behind. It’s the right thing to do, and the smart thing to do. And now is the time to chart our course towards a more equitable world.
  • Endnotes
  • Statistical Tables
    Economic and social statistics on the countries and areas of the world, with particular reference to children’s well-being.
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