Social Indicators Research

, Volume 80, Issue 1, pp 133–177 | Cite as

An Index of Child Well-being in the European Union

  • Jonathan BradshawEmail author
  • Petra Hoelscher
  • Dominic Richardson


While the living conditions of children and young people in the European Union have gained increasing recognition across the EU, the well-being of children is not monitored on the European level. Based on a rights-based, multi-dimensional understanding of child well-being we analyse data already available for the EU 25, using series data as well as comparative surveys of children and young people. We compare the performance of EU Member States on eight clusters with 23 domains and 51 indicators and give a picture of children’s overall well-being in the European Union. The clusters are children’s material situation, housing, health, subjective well-being, education, children’s relationships, civic participation and risk and safety.


Young People EUROPEAN Union Czech Republic Slovak Republic Civic Participation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Antonovsky A. 1987 Unraveling the Mystery of Health. How People Manage Stress and Stay Well San Francisco LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Asher S.R., Paquette J.A., 2003, Loneliness and peer relations in childhood Current Directions in Psychological Science 12:75–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Astrom A.N., 2004, Stability of oral health-related behaviour in a Norwegian cohort between the ages of 15 and 23 years Community Dentristry and Oral Epidemiology 32:354–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Atkinson, A.B., B. Cantillon, E. Marlier and B. Nolan: 2005, Taking Forward the EU Social Inclusion Process, Final Report. (Government of Luxembourg, Luxembourg), Scholar
  5. Beresford B., Sloper P., Bradshaw J., 2005 Physical health In: J. Bradshaw, E. Mayhew (eds) The Well-being of Children in the UK Save the Children, London, pp. 65–107Google Scholar
  6. Bloendel, S., S. Field and N. Girouard: 2002, Investment in Human Capital through Post-compulsory Education and Training: Selected Efficiency and Equity Aspects, Economic Department Working Paper No 333 (OECD, Paris)Google Scholar
  7. Bollen K., Lennox R., 1991 Conventional wisdom on measurement: a structural equation perspective Psychological Bulletin 110(2):305–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bradshaw, J.: 2006, ‘Some problems in the measurement of child poverty using income data’, in Wintersberger, H. (ed.), Economic Well-Being, Cost Action 12 bookGoogle Scholar
  9. Bradshaw, J. and E. Mayhew (eds.): 2005, The Well-being of Children in the UK, 2nd edn. (Save the Children, London)Google Scholar
  10. Bronfenbrenner U., Morris P., 1998 The ecology of developmental processes In: W. Damon, R. Lerner (eds) Handbook of Child Psychology (Fifth edition, volume 1): Theoretical Models of Human Development. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Cantanero D., Pascual M., Sarabia J.M., 2005, Effects of income inequality on population health: new evidence from the European Community Household Panel Applied Economics 37:87–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Compan E., Moreno J., Ruiz M.T., Pascual E., 2002, Doing things together: adolescent health and family rituals Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 56:89–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Conwell L.S., O’Callaghan M.J., Andersen M.J., Bor W., Najman J.M., Williams G.M., 2003, Early adolescent smoking and a web of personal and social disadvantage. Journal for Paediatrics and Child Health 39:580–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Craig W.M., 1998, The relationship among bullying, victimisation, depression, anxiety, and aggression in elementary school children Personality and Individual Differences 24:123–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Currie, C., C. Roberts, A. Morgan, R. Smith, W. Settertobulte, O. Samdal and V. Barnekow Rasmussen (eds.): 2004, ‘Young People’s Health in Context. Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Study (HBSC): International Report from the 2001/2002 Study’. WHO Regional Office for Europe. eprise/main/who/InformationSources/Publications/Catalogue/20040601_1Google Scholar
  16. DFES: 2004, ‘Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003: England Sample and Data (Department for Education and Skills, London)’, SFR 47/2004Google Scholar
  17. Dumont M., Provost M.A., 1999, Resilience in adolescents: protective role of social support, coping strategies, self esteem, and social activities on experience of stress and depression Journal of Youth and Adolescence 28(3):343–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ekstrand, M., Larsson, M., Von Essen, L. and Tyden, T.: 2005, ‘Swedish teenager perceptions of teenage pregnancy, abortion, sexual behaviour, and contraceptive habits – a focus group study among 17-year-old female high school students’. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavia 84, pp. 980–986Google Scholar
  19. sEssau C., 2004, Risk-taking behaviour among German adolescents Journal of Youth Studies 7:499–512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Eurostat: 2005, `Populations and social conditions: Living conditions and welfare statistics', data can be downloaded at, accessed 08/05Google Scholar
  21. Ferguson, B. et al.: 2006, Indications of Puiblic Health in the English Regions: 5: Child Health (Yorkshire and Humberside NHS Public Health Observatory)Google Scholar
  22. Hibell, B, et al.: 2003, `European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD)', data accessed at, accessed 09/05Google Scholar
  23. Hanafin, S. and A.M. Brooks: 2005, Report on the Development of a National Set of Child Well-being Indicators in Ireland (The National Children’s Office, Dublin),, last accessed at 05.11.2005Google Scholar
  24. Hay D.S., Payne A., Chadwick A., 2004, Peer relations in childhood Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45:84–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hoelscher P., 2003, Immer musst du hingehen und praktisch betteln. Wie Jugendliche Armut erleben Campus Verlag Frankfurt/Main New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. IEA/CIVED: 2005, IEA CIVED Datasets, 1999, downloaded from, December 2005Google Scholar
  27. Immervoll, H. and D. Barber: 2005, Can Parents Afford to Work? Childcare Costs, Tax-benefit Policies and Work Incentives, OECD Social Employment and Migration Working Papers No 31 (OECD, Paris)Google Scholar
  28. Kamerman, S.B., M. Neuman, J. Waldfogel and J. Brooks-Gunn: 2003, Social Policies, Family Types and Child Outcomes in Selected OECD Countries, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers No 6 (OECD, Paris)Google Scholar
  29. Klebanov P.K., Brooks-Gunn J., McCormick M.C., 1994, School achievement and failure in very low birth weight children Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 15:248–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Klein-Hessling J., Lohaus A., Ball J., 2005, Psychological predictors of health related behaviour in children Psychology, Health and Medicine 10:31–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Land K., Lamb V., Kahler Mustillo S., 2001 Child and youth well-being in the United States, 1975–1998: Some findings from a new index Social Indicators Research 56(December):241–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lansdown, G.: 2001, Promoting Children’s Participation in Democratic Decision-making (UNICEF Innocenti Insight) (UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence)Google Scholar
  33. Lipman E.L., Offord D.R., 1997 Psychosocial morbidity among poor children in Ontario In: G. Duncan, J. Brooks-Gunn (eds) Consequences of Growing Up Poor Russel Sage Foundation New York pp. 239–287Google Scholar
  34. Lippman, L., 2004, Indicators of Child, Family and Community Connections (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services)Google Scholar
  35. McCarton C., Brooks-Gunn J., Wallace I., Bauer C., Bennet F., Bernbaum J., Broyles R., Casey P., McCormick M., Scott D., Tyson J., Tonascia J., Meiner C., 1997, Results at eight years of intervention for low birthweight premature infants: the infant health development program Journal of the American Medical Association 227:126–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Meadows S., Land K., Lamb V., 2005. Assessing Gilligan versus Sommers: Gender-specific trends in child and youth well-being in the United States, 1985–2001 Social Indicators Research 70(January):1–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Neuberger C., 1997, Auswirkungen elterlicher Arbeitslosigkeit und Armut auf Familien und Kinder – ein mehrdimensionaler empirisch gestützter Zugang In: U. Otto (eds) Aufwachsen in Armut Erfahrungswelten und soziale Lagen von Kindern armer Familien Opladen pp. 79–122Google Scholar
  38. OECD: 2005, Education at a Glance 2005. Downloaded at on the 12/05Google Scholar
  39. OECD: 2006, `OECD Health Data', data can be downloaded at document/56/0,2340,en_2649_34631_12968734_1_1_1_1,00.html, accessed 02/06Google Scholar
  40. OECD/PISA: 2005a, OECD PISA 2000 Database. Downloaded at, on the 08/05Google Scholar
  41. OECD/PISA: 2005b, OECD PISA 2003 Database. Downloaded at, on the 08/05Google Scholar
  42. OECD/PISA: 2005c, `PISA 2003 Student Questionnaire', downloaded at accessed 06/05Google Scholar
  43. Orthner D.K., Jones-Saupei H., Williamson S., 2004, The resilience and strengths of low-income families Family Relations 53:159–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Peters H.E., Mullis N.C., 1997, The role of family income and sources of income on adolescent achievement In: G. Duncan, J. Brooks-Gunn (eds) Consequences of Growing Up Poor Russel Sage Foundation New York pp. 340–381Google Scholar
  45. Quilgars D., Searle B., Keung A., 2005, Mental health and well-being In: J. Bradshaw, E. Mayhew (eds) The Well-being of Children in the UK (2nd edn). Save the Children London pp. 134–160Google Scholar
  46. Rodgers B., Pryor J., 1998, Divorce and Separation: The Outcomes for Children Joseph Rowntree Foundation YorkGoogle Scholar
  47. Salmivelli C., Isaacs J., 2005, Prospective relations among victimisation, rejection, friendlessness and children’s self- and peer-perceptions Child Development 76:1161–1171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Santos Pais M., 1999, A Human Rights Conceptual Framework for UNICEF. UNICEF Innocenti Essay 9 UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre FlorenceGoogle Scholar
  49. Schone, R., U. Gintzel, E. Jordan et al.: 1997, Kinder in Not. Vernachlässigung im frühen Kindesalter und Perspektiven Sozialer Arbeit (Votum, Münster)Google Scholar
  50. Schulz, W and H. Sibberns: 2004, IEA Civic Education Study: Technical Report (The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)Google Scholar
  51. Stevens, K., M. Dickson, M. Poland and R. Prasad: 2005, Focus on Families. Reinforcing the Importance of Family. Families with Dependent Children – Successful Outcomes Project. Report on literature review and focus groups (Families Commission, Wellington) Scholar
  52. Stewart-Knox B.J., Sittlington J., Rugkasa J., Harrisson S., Treacy M., Santos Abaunza P., 2005, Smoking and peer groups: results from a longitudinal study of young people in Northern Ireland British Journal of Social Psychology 44:397–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Tubbs C.Y., Roy K.M., Burton L.M., 2005, Family ties: constructing family ties in low-income families Family Process 44:77–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. WHO: 2005, Mortality Database Website. Downloaded at whosis/menu.cfm?path=whosis,mort&language=english, (accessed 12/08/2005)Google Scholar
  55. Williams, E.: 2004, Children’s Participation and Policy Change in South Asia, CHIP Report No␣6 (Childhood Poverty Research and Policy Centre, CHIP, London)Google Scholar
  56. World Bank: 2005a, World Development Indicators (WDI). Downloaded at, on 07/05Google Scholar
  57. World Bank: 2005b, `World Bank Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) data', downloaded at accessed 08/05Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Bradshaw
    • 1
    Email author
  • Petra Hoelscher
    • 2
  • Dominic Richardson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Social PolicyUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  2. 2.UNICEF Regional Office for CEE/CIS and BalticsGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Social Policy Research UnitUniversity of YorkYorkUK

Personalised recommendations