The State of the World's Children 2004


Full report

The full report is available in PDF as one single file.


The six chapters of the report are available as Web page text summaries or in full as downloadable PDF files at the bottom of each page.

Chapter 1. To jump-start development
The chapter analyses the catalytic effect of gender parity in education on all other development goals.
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Chapter 2. Educated girls, a uniquely positive force for development
The chapter details the multiple social benefits of girls’ education and describes the failures of earlier models of development and education.
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Chapter 3. Girls left out, countries left behind
The chapter illustrates the critical need for disaggregated data to assess progress towards gender parity in education, and underscores the need for donor nations to follow through on promises.
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Chapter 4. The multiplier effect of educating girls
The chapter connects the dots between girls’ education and other essential ingredients for human development.
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Chapter 5. What about boys?
The chapter examines the factors that contribute to the lag in boys’ education in certain countries, suggests interventions and shows how gender-sensitive classes help both girls and boys.
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Chapter 6. The right thing to do
The chapter asserts that an investment in girls’ education is an investment in development and outlines seven steps required of world leaders for girls to secure their right to education.
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Special topics

Topic 1. The acceleration strategy: 25 by 2005
The panel describes a UNICEF initiative designed to stimulate gender parity in education in 25 countries deemed most at risk of failing to reach this goal by 2005.
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Topic 2. Education, rights and responsibilities
The panel underscores the important roles of rights holders and duty bearers in securing children’s right to an education.
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Topic 3. Egypt: Dreams realized
The panel describes how a village in Egypt came to understand the importance of girls’ education and inspired high-level action to end Egypt’s gender gap in education by 2007.
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Topic 4. The ‘karate girls’ of Bihar, India
The panel illustrates how a girl in India was empowered by literacy and karate. 
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Topic 5. Goodbye to school fees
The panel profiles a school in Kenya where classes now burst at the seams since the Government eliminated education fees.
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Topic 6. Teachers spark hope
The panel reports on unique teacher training programmes that are easing educational emergencies in Angola and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
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Topic 7. African countries move closer to education goals
The panel details the African Girls’ Education Initiative and underscores the value of thematic funding.
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Topic 8. Turkey: a school play touches a nation
The panel recognizes Turkey’s drive to give older girls a second chance at education through open primary schools.
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Topic 9. The community that made a difference in Sudan
The panel shows that committing to girls’ education in Sudan has helped entire communities.
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Topic 10. Coming back in Afghanistan
The panel cites the success of Afghanistan’s Back to School campaign as an example of what can be accomplished when the international community commits itself to getting girls in school.
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Annex A. A solution to almost every problem
Annex A proposes strategies both in and out of the classroom for promoting girls’ education and offers country examples of successful programmes.

Annex B. Human rights-based approach: statement of common understanding
Annex B is a UN inter-agency ‘statement of understanding’ on the human rights-based approach.

Go to Annexes page


With ‘females as percentage of males in secondary school’ as the base, the maps are pictorial representations of indicators on girls’ education, gender equality and women’s empowerment and their relationship to the other Millennium Development Goals.

Map 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Every year of schooling completed by girls is a step towards eliminating poverty.
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Map 2. Achieve universal primary education
When school doors swing open for girls, both boys and girls walk through.
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Map 3. Reduce child mortality
As girls’ education rates rise, child mortality rates plummet.
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Map 4. Improve maternal health
Education is good medicine for mothers and their children. 
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Map 5. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Prevention and treatment are the most powerful vehicles in this fight. Girls’ education drives both.
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Map 6. Ensure environmental stability
Schools with safe water and separate latrines improve girls’ attendance and the quality of life for communities.
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Statistical tables
Economic and social indicators on the countries and territories of the world, with particular reference to children’s well-being.

General notes on data
Gives an overview of information, sources and explanations of symbols as it relates to the statistical tables.

Under-five mortality rankings
Lists in descending order the estimated 2002 under-five mortality rate and rank of countries and territories.

Table 1. Basic indicators
In alphabetical order, lists countries’ and territories’ basic indicators including under-five mortality rank and rate, infant mortality rate (under 1), total population, annual number of births, annual number of under-five deaths, GNI per capita, life expectancy, total adult literacy, net primary school enrolment/attendance and percentage share of household income.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 2. Nutrition
Lists countries’ and territories’ nutrition-related statistics.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 3. Health
Lists countries’ and territories’ health-related statistics.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 4. HIV/AIDS
Lists countries’ and territories’ HIV/AIDS-related statistics.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 5. Education
Lists countries’ and territories’ education-related statistics.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 6. Demographic indicators
Provides demographic profiles of countries and territories.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 7. Economic indicators
Lists countries’ and territories’ economic-related statistics.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 8. Women
Lists countries’ and territories’ statistics that measure women’s well-being.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 9. Child protection
Lists selected countries’ and territories’ child protection-related statistics.
[PDF] [Excel]

Table 10. Rate of progress
Lists countries’ and territories’ rates of progress towards the satisfaction of some essential human needs.
[PDF] [Excel]


1. Projections for the Millennium Development Goals
Presents the United Nations Development Programme estimates for achieving each Millennium Development Goal by region and world average, and shows that at the current rate of progress it will take some regions more than 100 years to achieve some of the goals.

2. Trends in gender disparities
The figure, adapted from the UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2002, shows changes on the gender parity index in gross enrolment ratios in primary school between 1990 and 1999 in Asia/Pacific, Arab States and sub-Saharan Africa.

3. IMF/World Bank loans versus growth
Looks at the relationship of per capita growth and IMF/World Bank adjustment loans from the 1960s through the 1990s and finds that growth plummeted even as loans increased.

4. Human development and economic growth by level of income-poverty
Shows the relationship between human development – measured by under-5 mortality rates and income-poverty level – and economic growth, and demonstrates that human development fosters economic growth.

5. Double jeopardy
Gives the percentage of children age 7-18, broken down by gender, who have never been to school of any kind and illustrates that girls are more likely than boys to miss out on schooling because of poverty.

6. Primary net enrolment/attendance rates
Shows the primary net enrolment/attendance rates during 1996-2002 broken down by region.

7. Primary school completion progress
Gives regional primary school completion estimates through 2015 based on completion rates during the 1990s and projects the required rate of progress for each region to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education.

8. Female participation in secondary education
Provides the 1990 and 2000 gross enrolment ratio of females in secondary education for the Central and Eastern Europe region, and records the region’s falling enrolment rates.

9. Children’s opinions on gender and education
Provides the percentage of boys’ and girls’ responses to three questions about gender roles and illustrates the role of gender bias in undermining female participation inside and outside the home.

10. Government expenditure on education in East Asia and Pacific
Shows the rise in the percentage of government expenditure on education from 1990 to 2000 in East Asia and Pacific.

11. Orphans less likely to attend school
Compares the attendance rate of non-orphans (living with at least one parent) to that of double orphans (who have lost both parents) in countries in West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa. Orphans with no parents are less likely to attend school.



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