Socio-economic research on child well-being and the debate around child indicators has evolved quite rapidly in recent decades. An important contribution to this trend is represented by international comparative research based on multi-dimensional child well-being frameworks: most of this research is based on the comparison of average levels of well-being across countries. This paper tries to respond to the complex challenge of going beyond an approach based on averages and proposes a complementary approach to compare inequality in child well-being in economically advanced countries. In particular, it focuses on the disparities at the bottom-end of the child well-being distribution, by comparing the situation of the „median‟ child and the situation of the children at the bottom of the well-being scale for nine indicators of material conditions, education and health. Application of the proposed inequality measures to the data of a group of 24 economically advanced countries, shows that there is a consistent group of countries (in particular European Nordic countries, the Netherlands and Switzerland) which are successful in limiting the levels of bottom-end inequality below the OECD average, while in some countries (in particular Greece, Italy and the United States) children are at a higher risk of being left behind and excluded from the living standards which are normally enjoyed by the majority of their peers.

Sustainable Development Goals:
Related Subject(s): Children and Youth

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  • Published online: 31 Dec 2010
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