Poor little rich German kids are unhappy

2013-04-10 17:06
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Madrid - A UN survey has highlighted a mood of gloom among Germany's children, although they are among the world's wealthiest.

The study, released by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) on Wednesday, checked out the material well-being and self-image of children in 29 relatively affluent countries.

Cheerful Greek and Spanish children rated themselves far more satisfied with life than their ranking in the wealth table implied.

The Spanish children were third happiest and Greeks fifth happiest.

Not so the sour little Germans, who scored only 22nd on good cheer.

Hans Bertram, a member of Germany's Unicef Committee, blamed the cruel treatment of failures in Germany's success-obsessed society.

"It's a grim assessment by German boys and girls of themselves and their society," said Bertram, who is a sociology professor at Berlin's Humboldt University.

Dutch children have the highest levels of material well-being among the rich countries, with four Nordic countries - Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - coming next in both main scores, Unicef said.

Germany scored sixth.

The Unicef study included European countries, Canada and the United States. The selection was based on the availability of data.

Children's material well-being was based on measures such as health and safety, education, behaviours and risks, and housing and environment.

The Netherlands was the only country that ranked among the top five countries in all dimensions of child well-being.

Lower scoring

Despite their happy children, Spain and Greece did not score high in material terms, ranking only 19th and 25th.

The lowest four places in material terms were occupied by the three of the poorest countries in the survey: Latvia, Lithuania and Romania, and by one of the richest, the United States.

The study interviewed a total of 176 509 children in the 29 countries. It did not find a strong relationship between gross domestic product per capita and overall child well-being.

The Czech Republic, for instance, ranked higher than Austria.

Slovenia ranked higher than Canada, and Portugal higher than the US.

Read more on:    unicef  |  germany

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