Comparing inequality in the well-being of children in economically advanced countries: a methodology

Candace Currie, Dorothy Currie, Leonardo Menchini, Dominic Richardson, Chris Roberts

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Summary: 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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationFlorence, Italy
PublisherUNICEF Innocenti Research Centre
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • child well-being
  • inequality
  • social exclusion
  • education
  • OECD countries
  • health
  • housing
  • industrialized countries
  • social conditions


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