Stuck in the Middle
UNICEF Report Card 11
Child Wellbeing in Rich Countries: A Comparative Reivew
The majority of Canada’s children are faring well in any given indicator. Even where we are further behind other countries, in some cases it is not a great distance. Most children are immunized, most do not smoke and most have healthy weights. But in contrast to comparable countries, we have too many children who are left out of public health efforts and who are not benefitting from their years of compulsory education by going on to further education, training and employment. We are raising children in families squeezed for time as well as income. Children living in poverty are more likely to be left out because poverty, in and of itself, is a significant risk factor. But there are many conditions affecting childhood in Canada that cut across all socioeconomic levels, particularly risk behaviours. And because most children are in the middle of the socioeconomic gradient, that is where we find the greatest number who are developmentally vulnerable. If we want to improve the chances for all children, we need to boost interventions that reach all children.