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


Urban challenges

Children in an Urban World

© UNICEFNYHQ2008-0453Dean

Every year, the world's urban population increases by about 60%. Despite the advantages that urban life offers, there are many children living in poverty who are unable to access essentials such education, healthcare, safe drinking water or electricity. Many children also face threats resulting from a lack of a permanent home, violence as well as dangerous and exploitative work.


A significant proportion of children and young people move within their countries own their own. Like adults, children migrate for various reasons, such as better livelihoods, educational opportunities or to escape poverty, conflict, disaster or violence. Children who migrate unaccompanied by adults are vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and trafficking.

Economic shocks

The number of unemployed people in the world had increased by 30 million in late 2010 and continues to increase. The global food and economic crises have particularly hit workers between the ages of 15 - 24, which includes children.

Urban violence

Crime and violence affect hundreds of millions of children in urban areas, either as targets, participants or witnesses. Early exposure to a violent environment impedes a child's development and leads to increased rates of anxiety, depression, aggression and high school drop-out rates.

Disaster risk

For millions of children, urban poverty is intensified by exposure to hazards such as floods and earthquakes. Vulnerable locations and great concentrations of people can make cities especially dangerous. Children living in urban poor communities tend to live in flimsy homes built on the least desirable land: on slopes, low ground or near industrial waste sites. Moreover, poor nutrition and health leave children more vulnerable to the effects of environmental shocks.¹


SOWC 2012 Pages 7 - 8






State of the World's Children Report 2012

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