One in four German children not satisfied with their lives

One in four German children not satisfied with their lives

One in four German children not satisfied with their lives

Even in affluent countries, children still suffer from mental health problems, weight issues and problems at school. According to a new UNICEF study, the majority of children in Germany are generally satisfied with their lives - but children in other industrialised countries report higher levels of life satisfaction. 

One in every four children in Germany not satisfied with life

75 percent of boys and girls in Germany are very satisfied with their lives, according to a new representative study by the Children’s Fund, which looked at levels of life satisfaction in OECD and EU countries. “On the one hand, 75 percent is a good value,” said Rudi Tarneden, a spokespeson for Unicef Germany, “but you can also turn it around and say: Every fourth child is not satisfied. And that’s not so good in international comparison.” 

Indeed, the study found far higher levels of life satisfaction in countries like the Netherlands, where 90 percent of children said they were happy, Switzerland (82 percent) and France (80 percent). The lowest level of satisfaction found in the study was in Turkey, at 53 percent, followed by Japan and Great Britain. 

Children in Germany report multiple concerns

The study found that parents in Germany are generally considered to be more worried and fear-driven than in other countries. “If the adults convey little confidence, that is reflected in the attitudes of the children,” said Tarneden. 

It is noticeable that just 72 percent of boys and girls in Germany said that it is easy for them to make friends, putting the federal republic towards the lower end of the scale. In Romania, 83 percent said that they had little difficulty making new friends. 

Alongside Estonia and Poland, Germany was also the country where the highest number of respondents reported having issues with their weight (feeling either too fat or too thin). Across all the countries studied, around one in every three children is either obese or overweight. In Germany, the proportion is 27 percent. Child poverty also remains a constant issue in the federal republic, according to Tarneden. 

Prosperity doesn’t necessarily mean children develop well

The study, which was carried out by the UNICEF research centre Innocenti in Florence, compared the well-being of children in 41 OECD and EU countries worldwide, looking at both mental and physical health as well as social and intellectual skills. The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Finland received the best overall rating in the study. Coming in 14th, Germany landed in the upper midfield, while the worst performers were Chile, Bulgaria and the United States. 

“Prosperity does not automatically mean that all children can develop well,” said Tarneden. “What we have in western industrial societies is a variety of life situations for children. The perfect family from commercial television is an illusion. Far too many children are left behind, even here [in Germany].”  



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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