Intergenerational and Cross-National Comparisons of Child and Youth Well-Being

  • Kenneth C. Land
  • Vicki L. Lamb
  • Hui Zheng
Part of the Children’s Well-Being: Indicators and Research book series (CHIR, volume 6)


This chapter extends the analyses of trends and levels of child and youth well-being presented in prior chapters in two directions—across generational time and across nations. First, we pose the question: How does the well-being of American youths in recent years compare with that of a generation ago when the parents of today’s children themselves were youths? Because most of the key indicator time series of the Child and Youth Well-Being Index date back to the mid-1970s and because the mean length of a generation is about 25–30 years (the modal age of childbearing in recent decades has been approximately 28), we can use the indicators and composite indices of the CWI to address this question. Secondly, we turn our attention to international comparisons and pose the question: How well are America’s children and youth doing in recent years as compared to the children and youth of other nations? Land et al. (2011) addressed this question by comparing data on a number of child and youth well-being indicators for the USA and four other English-speaking countries, specifically Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. A number of findings from that article are reported and described in the second part of this chapter.


Average Rank Teenage Birth Rate Helicopter Parenting Anglophone Country Official Poverty Line 
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.


  1. Booher, B. (2007, January–February). Helicopter parents. Duke Magazine, 93(1), 1–6.Google Scholar
  2. Epsing-Andersen, G. (1990). The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Land, K. C., Lamb, V. L., & Zheng, H. (2011). How are the kids doing? How do we know? Recent trends in child and youth well-being in the United States and some international comparisons. Social Indicators Research, 100, 463–477.Google Scholar
  4. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. (2007). An overview of child well-being in rich countries (Innocenti Report Card 7). Florence, Italy.Google Scholar
  5. Warner, J. (2005). Perfect madness: Motherhood in the age of anxiety. New York: Riverhead Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Center for Population Health and AgingDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyNorth Carolina Central UniversityDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Personalised recommendations