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Finland ranks 4th in the world on children's well-being

Finland is ranked fourth in the world for the well-being of its children, according to a new report from UNICEF. The report found there is still room for improvement in the way Finland handles school bullying and obesity.

Lapsia pulpettien ääressä iPadien kanssa
Kids at the Tottijärvi school in the town of Nokia get acquainted with tablets. Image: Tiina Kokko / Yle

Finland came fourth in the ‘Child Well-Being in Rich Countries' comparison of 29 advanced economies, which was published on Wednesday by UNICEF. The Netherlands came first, followed by Norway and Iceland.

The report did not find a strong link between economic success and child welfare, with some former eastern bloc countries ranking highly despite a lower GDP than others. The Czech Republic, for instance, is placed higher than neighbouring Austria.

Finland did particularly well in the rankings for material well-being (ranked 2nd overall), health and safety (3rd) and Educational well-being (4th).

Under "Educational achievement by age 15" in the latter section, the report notes that Finland was ranked first worldwide in average scores on PISA tests of reading, maths and science literacy. It also notes that nearly 95 percent of those aged 15 to 19 in Finland were in education, employment or training. This is slightly higher than in Sweden. However neighbouring Norway has the top rating in this "NEET" category, with just 2.3 percent of the age group not in education, employment or training.

Finland is also rated as having the world's lowest relative child poverty rate, with 3.6 percent of children under 18 living in households with incomes less than half the national median. It was also tied for the highest immunization rate, with 99 percent of kids between age one and two vaccinated against measles, polio and DPT3.

The comparison is based on data from 2010.

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