Report finds English children among the unhappiest in world

 

English children are among the most unhappy in the western world, according to a new report published today.

The Good Childhood Report published by The Children’s Society charity found English children came 30th out of 39 countries in Europe and North America in terms of “subjective wellbeing” – how they rated their own happiness and life satisfaction.

A separate comparison of 11 countries across the world put English children third from bottom in terms of wellbeing – behind their counterparts in Algeria, Romania, South Korea and Uganda.

After surveying more than 5,000 English children, the researchers found that the youngsters tended to be relatively happy with various aspects of their lives – like money and possessions – but anxious about things, such as their future and their appearance. 

The survey found that 13 per cent of English 10- to 13-year-olds were unhappy with the way they looked – and girls were by far the most worried about their appearance, with 18 per cent reporting unhappiness in this area, compared to 9 per cent of boys.

Indicating how important looks are to many children, one 12-year-old girl told researchers: “People are judged on looks. Sometimes you feel like you can’t enjoy yourself unless you are pretty.”

Although they tended to be happier with their school lives, girls’ greater anxiety about their appearance was a significant factor in them having a slightly lower sense of overall well-being than boys.

Perhaps inevitably, the teenage years were when English children were at their unhappiest.  While only 4 per cent of eight-year-olds reported low life satisfaction, that figure went up to 14 per cent for 15-year-olds.

The survey suggested that ages 14 to 15 were the most miserable stages of adolescence, with slightly higher levels of well-being reported among 16- and 17-year-olds. 

Overall, the survey found that 9 per cent – nearly one in 10 – of English eight- to 15-year-olds had “low life satisfaction”.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “That is a statistic none of us can afford to ignore In a period where the impact of austerity measures are disproportionately affecting low-income families with children, it is critical to keep focused on how young people are faring.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

    Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

    £10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

    £17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

    £32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage