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UNICEF: Netherlands leads in child welfare

  |   April 10, 2013 at 9:18 AM
UNITED NATIONS, April 10 (UPI) -- The United States, one of the world's richest countries, ranks near the bottom among affluent societies in children's well-being, a United Nations report says.

The report by the United Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, ranked 29 rich countries. The Netherlands was the leader, followed by four Scandinavian countries, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden.

The United States was in 26th place, followed only by Lithuania, Latvia and Romania. It was behind Estonia, Slovakia and Greece.

"There does not appear to be a strong relationship between per capita GDP and overall child well-being -- in other words, country wealth does not always mean happier and healthier children," the report said. "But investment in children is important. Child poverty is not inevitable but policy-susceptible, and some countries have been doing much better than others at protecting their most vulnerable children."

The report found an overall improvement in a number of areas, including family affluence, infant mortality and smoking by children.

While all the countries in the top 10 are western European nations, Italy and Greece were near the bottom at 22 and 25. Britain ranked 16th and Canada 17th.

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