Best on childhood income equality

New Unicef report on childhood equality places Norway near top

Photo: Evelina Gustafsson Norway is near the top on childhood income equality.

Photo: Evelina Gustafsson
Norway is near the top on childhood income equality.

The Local

Norway came out near the top of a new Unicef report on childhood equality. In the report, children between the ages of 11 and 15 were asked to assess their own life satisfaction on a scale of one to 10, where a score of four or less was seen as “bad.” In Norway, only 4.5 percent characterized their lives as “bad,” bested only by the Netherlands where just 4.4 percent were unsatisfied with their lives.

The majority of children in the study, which examined 41 EU and OECD nations, ranked their life satisfaction as an eight.

The gap between the life satisfaction of the “average” Norwegian child and those at the bottom of society was among the smallest of the included countries, and Norway was the best performer in reducing the gap between the life satisfaction of the “average” child and those at the bottom of society between 2002 and 2014.

Unicef Norway, however, said it was concerning that roughly one child in each Norwegian classroom is unsatisfied with life.

“These children are at a greater risk of dropping out of school and developing health problems. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we listen to these children when formulating new policies and give the voice of our children the space it deserves,” legal adviser Ivar Stokkereit told NTB.

When comparing income, education, health, and life satisfaction gaps between children at the bottom of society and those in the middle, Norway was placed in a three-way tie for overall second place with Finland and Switzerland. According to Unicef, Denmark is the nation with the lowest overall childhood inequality.

Norway was the absolute best country for income equality, with just a 37 percent income gap. Put another way, the household income of a child at the 10th percentile is just 37 percent lower than that of a child in the middle of the income distribution.

The report also hailed Norway for making significant improvements when it comes to inequality in healthy eating.

“[Norway] showed progress in reducing bottom-end inequality in the consumption of fruit and vegetables and also reduced bottom-end inequality in the consumption of added sugars,” the report stated. “Norway and Spain stand out in particular, achieving large reductions in bottom-end inequality of six percentage points or more in both diet-related indicators.”

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the April 22, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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