State of the World's Children


2013: Children with Disabilities

2012 : Children in an urban world

2011: Adolescence

Special: Child rights

2009: Maternal + newborn health

2008: Child survival

2007: Gender equality


2012 : Children in an urban world

Children in an increasingly urban world

The experience of childhood is increasingly urban. Over half the world's people - including more than a billion children - now live in cities and towns. While cities have long been associated with employment, development and economic growth, hundreds of millions of children in the world's urban areas are growing up amid scarcity and deprivation. In light of this, UNICEF has dedicated the 2012 edition of its flagship report The State of the World's Children to children living in urban areas.

An urban future for our children

§ By 2050, 7 in 10 people will live in urban areas

§ The world's urban population increases by 60 million people every year

§ The fast-growing urban centres are located in low and middle-income countries

§ Asia is home to half of the world's urban population

§ More than two-thirds of Malaysia's population live in urban areas

Children are born into deeply unequal societies and live their lives hindered by collective perceptions, conventions and stereotypes. Hence, like their parents and caregivers, children do face similar challenges in urban living.

Amongst the challenges faced by children in an urban world include increased migration from rural to urban centres, vulnerability during economic crises, urban violence, safety and health risks during natural and man-made disasters, poverty as well as exclusion from access to basic necessities such as clean water and education.


As the number of children living in urban pockets increase every year, it is essential that urban planning incorporate their needs as priorities. The concept of Children First will ensure that the well-being of all children be included in planning and efforts to improve housing, infrastructure as well as implement initiatives on safety and governance.

In addition, data collection must also be more accurate to reflect the actual disparities affecting children and their families in urban settings. Through the utilisation of the best methodologies available, children and families from the most marginalised communities can be determined in order to ensure they get access to the services they need.






State of the World's Children Report 2012

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