The report, ‘Fairness for Children’, compared 41 EU and OECD countries on the income, education, health and life satisfaction gaps between children at the bottom of society and those in the middle.
The comparison found that Denmark had the lowest overall inequality among children, topping a three-way tie at second place between Norway, Finland and Switzerland.
“Denmark is at the top of the overall league table. It has comparatively low bottom-end inequality in each of the four domains of child well-being. Indeed it is the only country to rank in the top third in all four league tables. Denmark’s lowest ranking is eighth in education,” the report stated.
A spokeswoman for Unicef Danmark said that the top place ranking was well-deserved but that there are still plenty of areas in which the nation can improve.
“We’ve made a list of nine things that one should have in one’s life, including a computer, their own room and at least one good meal per day. We know that there are some children [in Denmark, ed.] who don’t have these things in their lives,” Anne-Mette Friis told news agency Ritzau.
Denmark’s best performance was, perhaps not surprisingly given its consistent position among the world’s happiest and most satisfied nations, in the category of life satisfaction.
“The smallest relative life satisfaction gap (24 percent) is found in the Netherlands, while Australia and Denmark also have comparatively low relative gaps of around 25 per cent. In other words, in Denmark the mean life satisfaction score of children in the bottom half of the distribution is 75 percent of the score of a child at the median,” the report stated.
Denmark was also among the countries to have significantly reduced the gap between the life satisfaction of the ‘average’ child and those at the bottom of society.
The Unicef report stressed that national governments have the ability to reduce inequality through policymaking.
“The Report Card provides a clear reminder that the well-being of children in any country is not an inevitable outcome of individual circumstances or of the level of economic development but is shaped by policy choices,” Sarah Cook, the director of the UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, said.