More than 700 million kids — 1 out of every 4 around the world — are being robbed of their childhood, according to a report by nonprofit Save the Children. Child labor, child marriage, malnutrition, extreme violence, and a lack of education are among the “childhood enders” that deprive kids of the chance to be safe, happy, and healthy, according to the organization.
Childhood is most threatened in Niger, Angola, and Mali, according to the group’s ranking of 172 countries. Kids have the best shot at a happy, healthy childhood in countries, including Norway, Slovenia, and Finland. The U.S. ranked 36 out of 172 in the Save the Children report, between Bosnia and Russia. That’s better than the majority of countries but behind most other developed nations.
“All around the world, childhoods are at risk. Even here in the U.S., the most vulnerable children are being robbed of their chance to learn, grow, play and be safe,” Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, said in the statement.
To get a clearer look at the state of childhood in the U.S., the organization ranked all 50 states on five child-ending factors: infant mortality, child homicide and suicide rates, adolescent birth rates, food insecurity, and high school completion. The disparities among the states were vast. In these 15 states, childhood ends too soon for too many kids, according to Save the Children.
A quarter of all children in Florida — more than 1 million kids — live in “food insecure” households, where they sometimes don’t get regular meals at home. Nationwide, the figure is 1 in 5. Only seven states had a more serious childhood hunger problem.
In addition, 22% of Florida kids don’t graduate from high school on time, an alarming statistic considering dropouts are more likely to be unemployed and earn $10,000 less, on average, than their peers with a diploma. But Florida did better on rankings of violence (25th), teen pregnancy (23rd), and infant mortality (29th).