Report: The State of Children in the European Union

A new report highlights that 1 in 4 children – 20 million children – in EU countries are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

In Debrecen Hungary kindergarten children are playing outdoor between classes.


The EU is one of the most equal and prosperous regions in the world. Yet, the rights of far too many children within its borders are under threat or even denied. Too many children in the EU face persistently high rates of poverty and social exclusion, mental health challenges, and environmental dangers such as air pollution. UNICEF's report The State of Children in the European Union summarizes analyses by UNICEF on child well-being and progress for children in the European Union (EU) during the period of the current EU legislature, 2019-2024, and identifies key issues for the next political cycle.

The report is accompanied by four policy briefs covering:

Policy brief 1: Child poverty

Child poverty is not only about the amount of money that families have but also whether children’s basic needs (e.g., food, shelter) are met and whether they have access to essential services (e.g., health, education).

Policy brief 2: Mental health

Mental health is inherently positive; it is more than the absence of distress. Rather, it entails a state of positive psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Globally, almost one billion people are living with a mental health condition, including more than one in seven adolescents.

Policy brief 3: Environment

Children’s current and future well-being is fundamentally shaped by the environment in which they grow up. This includes a range of factors in the natural environment including homes, schools and local areas, green spaces, as well as broader issues such as the impacts of climate change.

Policy brief 4: Digital technologies

The lives of everyone have been transformed by the revolution in digital technologies over the past two decades. Digital technologies bring huge benefits for children and young people, but also present them with risks and challenges.

Front Cover of The State of Children in the European Union Report
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