Author(s): Save the Children
- Tracy Geoghegan
- Beryl Levinger
- Nikki Gillette
Published: May 30, 2018
“In commemoration of International Children’s Day, Save the Children releases its second annual End of Childhood Index taking a hard look at the events that rob children of their childhoods and prevent them from reaching their full potential. In our second Global End of Childhood Report and Childhood Index, we examine:
- The harsh realities faced by the most vulnerable, excluded children— including girls, children in conflict and children living in poverty
- Eight defining life events that signal the end of childhood
By examining the forces that end childhood around the world, we can advance our work to help every last child reach their full potential and have a chance at the childhood and future they deserve.
10 Major Trends that Require Urgent Action
- The world is now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record, with 20 people newly displaced every minute of every day as a result of conflict or persecution. By the end of 2016, more than 65 million people around the world had been forcibly displaced from their homes, including an estimated 28 million children. The number of children living in conflict zones is also up, from 1 in 10 in the early 1990s to 1 in 6 in 2016.
- By 2030, over 150 million more girls will marry before their 18th birthday. Despite global progress, no region is on track to eliminate child marriage by 2030. All regions need faster progress, but Latin America and the Caribbean – with virtually no progress since the 1990s – needs to speed up its rate of decline enormously. And in sub-Saharan Africa, due to population growth, the number of child brides will rise unless the rate of decline more than doubles.
- The global number of adolescent pregnancies is set to increase. Although the prevalence of pregnancies among adolescent girls appears to be declining in all regions but Latin America and the Caribbean, because the global population of adolescents continues to grow, projections indicate the number of girls under age 18 giving birth each year will increase globally from about 7.8 million today to 8.8 million by 2030. The greatest proportional increases are likely to be in West and Central Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa.
- The rich-poor child marriage gap has increased globally. Over the course of about two decades, the gap in global levels of child marriage between girls from the richest and poorest families roughly doubled. Today, the poorest girls are 4 times as likely as the richest to marry in childhood (41 percent vs. 10 percent); in 1990 they were twice as likely (39 percent vs. 19 percent).
- The rich-poor stunting gap has increased in most low-income countries. For 24 of 27 low-income countries with comparable trend data between around 2000 and around 2014, the stunting gap between the poorest 20 percent and richest 20 percent of children under 5 has either remained the same or increased.
- Although rates are declining, the absolute number of stunted children in sub-Saharan Africa is on the rise. West and Central Africa bears a disproportionate burden of this increase, with the number of stunted children rising from 22.9 million in 2000 to 28.1 million in 2016. While stunting rates are falling steadily across the region, few countries on the continent are on track to meet the SDG nutrition target. Globally, if current inadequate progress continues, there will be 130 million stunted children in 2025 (instead of the target of 99 million) and sub-Saharan Africa will account for more than half of them (compared with about one-third today).
- Survival gaps in sub-Saharan Africa have increased, as progress in saving lives has favored better-off children. And while progress in other regions has favored the poorest, no region is on track to close its child mortality gap by 2030, and most will not achieve equity in under-5 mortality rates between the poorest and richest households even by 2050. Despite the remarkable global progress since 2000, even if current rates of decline are sustained, more than 60 million more children will die before age 5 between now and 2030, mostly from preventable causes. About half will be newborn babies.
- Progress ensuring all children receive a full course of primary and secondary school has stalled. The number of children excluded from education fell steadily in the decade following 2000, but progress has essentially stopped in recent years. And with population growth in lower-performing regions, there will be little reduction in the global number of children out of school in 2030 compared to today (263 million). Also, at least 400 million children are in school but not learning (i.e., they are unable to read or undertake basic mathematics).
- Education systems in sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to keep up with population growth. Across the region, progress reducing out-of-school rates has stagnated and the number of out-of-school children
has been steadily increasing for at least the past five years. As a result, the share of the global out-of-school population residing in sub-Saharan Africa has risen to 37 percent, up from 24 percent in 2000.
- Child labor rates have risen in sub-Saharan Africa. From 2012 to 2016, child labor in sub-Saharan Africa rose from 21 to 22 percent, while all other regions achieved declines. The region has also been among those most affected by conflict and poverty, which heighten the risk of child labor.”