Why Switzerland is one of the best countries in the world to be a child
A new report by a United Nations agency places Switzerland among four best countries to be a child.
Innocenti, the UNICEF Office of Research, evaluated data from 41 member nations of the Orgnisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as from the European Union, regarding children’s mental well-being, physical health, as well as academic and social skills.
Based on these indicators, Switzerland placed in the fourth place globally, behind the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.
Here are some of the study’s findings:
• 82 percent of 15-year-olds in Switzerland express a high degree of satisfaction with their life. That is a higher number than responses in the same category in the neighbouring countries — 80 percent in France, 77 percent in Austria, 76 percent in Italy, and 75 percent in Germany.
• In terms of physical health, the proportion of children suffering from obesity has increased in recent years, especially in southern Europe, the report notes. On average, nearly one in three children is obese or overweight. In Switzerland, this proportion is lower; at 22 percent, it is the third-best in Europe and fourth in the world.
• When it comes to reading and math, Switzerland is in the middle of the ranking with 65 percent of 15-year-olds who have acquired basic skills in these subjects.
Even though Switzerland obtained a good overall ranking, it lags behind many other European countries when it comes to leave granted to new parents. Only Ireland and the United States offer less benefits in this regard, the study shows.
While mothers in Switzerland have had paid maternity leave for 15 years under Swiss law, fathers are currently only entitled to one day off upon the birth of their child.
This is significantly less than in most of Switzerland’s European neighbours.
However, the plan to extend this to two paid weeks will be voted on in a referendum on September 27th.
Finland ranks fifth in the study. Spain, France, Belgium, Slovenia and Sweden round off the top 10 nations.
The United States, Bulgaria and Chile rank at the bottom, in the 36th, 37th, and 38th place, respectively.
The full report can be found here.