The Good Childhood Report 2017

Over the last 12 years we have asked more than 60,000 children how they think their lives are going

The Good Childhood Report 2017 is our sixth in-depth study into children’s well-being.

We produce the report in partnership with the University of York as part of ground-breaking research.

download the report

Our key findings


1.

Young people’s happiness is at its lowest since 2010.

2.

Fear of crime is the most common problem of all, affecting 2.2 million children.

3.

One million children (18%) have seven or more serious problems in their lives.

4.

Children facing seven or more of the 27 serious problems we asked about were 10 times more likely to be unhappy than those with none.


Latest trends over time

This year, children and young people’s happiness is at its lowest since 2010.

In last year’s report we found that a gap in happiness between boys and girls, especially as they get older, had opened up.

This year, the gap has not narrowed.

Fear of crime is just one of many pressures on teenagers

Serious problems in children's lives

This year we asked about a list of 27 possible problems children and their families faced in the last five years.

Some of the most common problems, like living in a family struggling to pay the bills, are leaving millions of 10 to 17 year olds more likely to feel unhappy.

While some less common problems, like not having enough emotional support at home, are hugely reducing some children’s chances of being happy.



Read about the complete list of disadvantages explored in the Good Childhood Report.


‘If I see someone walking behind me, I’ll start running.’ - Secondary school girl

Fear of crime was the most common problem of all, affecting 2.2 million children.

Graphic of '1 in 3 teenage girls are afraid of being followed by a stranger'Graphic of '1 in 4 boys are worried that they'll be assaulted'

‘You’ve got to fight to survive around this area. You have to stick up for yourself the whole time’ - Boy, 13

Problems are adding up for young people

Just under a million children (16%) aged 10 to 17 don’t have any of these problems - but this is a minority of children.

A more widespread experience, affecting more than half of teenagers (53%), is having three or more serious problems to deal with.

One million children (18%) have seven or more serious problems in their lives.

When problems mount up, children are much more unhappy

The evidence clearly points to a more damaging impact on children’s well-being when problems mount up.

Children with seven or more serious problems in their lives are ten times more likely to be unhappy than those with none.

Government cuts are having a devastating impact on children

Across the country, local authority children’s services play a crucial role in helping children and families manage and overcome the serious problems in their lives.

However, the Government is sharply cutting funding for local services needed to help children and families deal with these problems. This leaves them unable to give young people help early, before problems get worse.

Funding for early help services alone is expected to be cut by 70% between 2010 and 2020. This will leave a £2 billion gap that will have a devastating impact on young people.

The Government must listen to children and act

1. Nationally, the Government must fill the widening gap in funding for children’s services so that support is available locally for young people before they hit crisis point.

2. Local councils must ensure that all local agencies - like police, schools and others - work together to make the well-being of children who are experiencing multiple disadvantage a top priority.

Join the campaign

Ask the Government for more local funding to help young people before they hit crisis point.

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Endorsements

See what other experts have to say about the Good Childhood Report 2017

Sara MacLennan

Sara MacLennan smiling at camera

Head of Evidence and Analysis

What Works Centre for Wellbeing

'At a UK-wide level, we have seen adult personal well-being improving over the past 5 years. This picture appears to be different for children.'

Read Sara's full endorsement


'At a UK-wide level, we have seen adult personal well-being improving over the past 5 years. This picture appears to be different for children. We can't compare directly, but the panel data which informs the report show a significant decrease in children's happiness with life as a whole between 2009-10 and 2014-15.

'With this in mind, it is more important than ever to understand what young people think of their own lives, how it is changing and what some of the influences may be.

'This year's Good Childhood Report begins to shed some light on the role played by social media and the experiences of children living with multiple disadvantage.'


Oliver Hilbery

Sara MacLennan smiling at camera

Project Director

Making Every Adult Matter

'This report provides a vital insight into the lives of today’s children and tomorrow’s adults.'





Read Oliver's full endorsement


'This report provides a vital insight into the lives of today’s children and tomorrow’s adults.

'For the first time it examines the effects of 27 disadvantages, proving that these have a statistically significant impact on children’s lives now, as well as affecting their behaviours and outcomes in adulthood.

'Experiencing multiple disadvantages is far too common. 53% of children experience at least three, and 18% seven or more. The impact, of course, is cumulative. Life satisfaction scores are 1.4 points (out of ten) lower for children who experience seven or more disadvantages compared to those who experience none.

'The message is clear: If we want to support children to lead successful adult lives, then services and policymakers must better understand - and respond to - the impact of multiple disadvantage.'