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The Good Childhood Report 2013

Children’s well-being remains an important issue of debate in the UK. The recent UNICEF Report Card 11 (UNICEF Office of Research, 2013) showed some improvements in aspects of children’s well-being in the UK up to 2010, although there is still considerable room for further improvement in comparison with other wealthy countries. The media coverage of Report Card 11 also raised concerns that current national and global economic problems could adversely affect young people and put this progress at risk.

2013 presents a very different social and economic context to child well-being than when we started this programme of research in 2005. The economy was growing, employment was at a post-war peak, social expenditure on children was increasing with increases in health, education and childcare spending. Child poverty and deprivation were falling. In comparison, the latest official statistics on child poverty for 2011/12 estimate that absolute poverty has increased by two percentage points and the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimate that relative child poverty will increase from 17% to 24% by 2020.

This report will hopefully make a timely addition to this ongoing debate. It provides an update on research and analysis we have undertaken in the 18 months since the publication of The Good Childhood Report 2012. In the conclusion to last year’s report we identified some priorities for future research on children’s well-being.

These were:

  1. To explore in more detail the well-being of specific sub-groups of children who may not be well represented in general population surveys
  2. To undertake research that explores the connections between well-being and other issues in children’s lives
  3. To learn more about ways in which children’s well-being can be enhanced.
  4. To continue to monitor children’s well-being, particularly in view of changes in our society.