According to a recent report, the United States ranks lower than 38 other countries on measurements of children’s survival, health, education, and nutrition.
In addition, results also showed that every country in the world has levels of excess carbon emissions that will prevent younger generations from having a healthy and sustainable future.
The report was published in the medical journal The Lancet on Tuesday that ranked 180 countries in the world based on a ‘child flourishing index’, where the United States got the 39th spot.
On another list, different countries were also ranked by their levels of excess carbon emissions where researchers took a closer look at estimated levels for 2030. Results from that data showed that the United States ranked No. 173 for sustainability.
The year 2030 was chosen as the threshold because, in 2015, governments around the world used “Sustainable Development Goals” made by the United Nations to make improvements for people and the planet by the year 2030.
Based on the report, when researchers contrast the child flourishing rankings with the carbon emissions rankings, it revealed that countries among the top for children ‘flourishing’ have some of the most alarming levels of excess carbon emissions predicted for the future.
Dr. Stefan Peterson, chief of health at UNICEF and an independent author of the report said:
“No country is in the right place with adequately making children flourish today and in the future.”
The report also showed that countries like Norway, South Korea, and the Netherlands ranked in the top three on current child ‘flourishing,’ but those countries were 156th, 166th, and 160th, respectively, on the global sustainability index that measured carbon emissions.
On the other hand, some countries had lower excess carbon emissions levels, but those countries did not rank well on the “child flourishing index”. For example, Burundi, Chad, and Somalia ranked first, second and third on the sustainability rankings but 156th, 179th, and 178th, respectively, on the “flourishing” rankings.
“I was hoping and thinking that at least some countries somewhere must be doing the right thing for children now and the right thing for children in the future — but I saw no country was in that ideal place and that quite surprised me.”
According to Peterson, the “child flourishing index” was developed specifically for the new report.
It was based on an aggregation of country-by-country data on several factors to measure child flourishing, including child survival rates, years of school, teen birth rates, maternal mortality, the prevalence of violence, growth, and nutrition, among many other factors.
“We looked at what extent children are able to fulfill their potential. It’s about knowledge, growth, going to school and learning and it’s about being protected from violence. We tried to look holistically.”
Most of the data used was from previous research and some UNICEF resources.
Here are the top 10 rankings on child flourishing index:
- Norway, ranked first overall
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
In this list. the United States ranked No. 39. The bottom 10 rankings on the child flourishing index, according to the report were:
- Central African Republic, ranked last overall at No. 180
- South Sudan
- Sierra Leone
When it came to measurements of sustainability, the report revealed that the top 10 rankings were:
- Burundi, ranked first overall
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Central African Republic
The bottom 10 rankings on sustainability were:
- Qatar, ranked last overall
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
- United States
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a written statement about the release of the report.
“This report shows that the world’s decision-makers are, too often, failing today’s children and youth: failing to protect their health, failing to protect their rights, and failing to protect their planet.”
“This must be a wakeup call for countries to invest in child health and development, ensure their voices are heard, protect their rights, and build a future that is fit for children.”