In the News: Children in England near bottom in international happiness table

Eight-year-olds in England are less happy than those in Estonia, Poland and Turkey, a survey suggests, with body image and school identified as areas they are particularly troubled by.

England ranked 13th out of 16 countries when it came to children’s life satisfaction, according to the international survey. Only South Korea, Nepal and Ethiopia fared worse overall.

Romania, notorious for the terrible state of its orphanages 25 years ago, now ranks top of the league in eight-year-olds’ self-reported life satisfaction, according to the research by Children’s Worlds. Colombia, a country riven by decades of civil war, came third, while Poland was second.

Jonathan Bradshaw, professor of social policy at the University of York, who co-edited the report, said the findings were shocking. He said: “You will see that we come bottom of the league table on quite a lot of things – very unhappy with the way you look and your own body; relationships with teachers are poor; dissatisfaction with school performance; dissatisfaction with the area in which you live; quite dissatisfied with family life, although not so much the people you live with and the house you live in.”

Coordinated in England by York’s Social Policy Research Unit, the study asked children to rate how they felt about key aspects of their lives. Questions touched on family and home life, friendships, money and possessions, school life, local area, time use, personal wellbeing, views on children’s rights, and overall happiness.

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