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Are Children Treated With Respect and Dignity Everywhere?
Gallup Blog

Are Children Treated With Respect and Dignity Everywhere?

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Thirty years to the day after nearly all world leaders pledged to guarantee that children everywhere are treated with respect and dignity, Gallup surveys find that most people in Latin America and the Caribbean see their countries continually coming up short in this area. In 2018, fewer than four in 10 people in the region (38%) said children in their countries are treated with respect and dignity -- making them the least likely in the world to see the situation this way for the third consecutive year.

Perceptions That Children Are Treated With Respect and Dignity, by Region
Do you believe that children in this country are treated with respect and dignity, or not? -- % Yes
2016 2017 2018
% % %
Asia and Pacific 73 82 82
European Union 77 79 79
Post-Soviet Eurasia 70 69 71
Sub-Saharan Africa 60 66 66
Northern America 64 75 65
Middle East and North Africa 56 55 52
Latin America and Caribbean 37 37 38
Gallup World Poll

Wednesday marks both World Children's Day and the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which articulated a vision of rights and freedoms accorded to every child around the globe. The convention remains the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, with only the U.S. not having ratified the document.

Children Least Likely to Be Seen as Respected in Latin America and MENA

The lower agreement on the "respect and dignity" item in Latin America and the Caribbean reflects the substantial challenges that many children in the region face. Six of the region's countries are in the bottom group on this measure. The low likelihood of respondents agreeing that children are treated with respect and dignity in these countries may reflect the turmoil many of them have experienced in recent years.

Countries Where Adults Are Least Likely to Say Children Are Treated With Respect and Dignity
Do you believe that children in this country are treated with respect and dignity, or not?
Yes
%
Guatemala 39
Yemen 39
Argentina 35
Brazil 32
Comoros 32
Palestinian Territories 30
Peru 30
Iraq 29
Turkey 29
Colombia 27
Haiti 23
Gallup World Poll, 2018

After Latin Americans, people in the Middle East and North Africa are the next-least likely to agree that children are treated with respect and dignity. Four countries and areas in this region make the list of those least likely to agree. All of them -- Yemen, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and Turkey -- have experienced significant unrest in recent years.

Children Most Likely to Be Perceived as Respected in Asia and the EU

Across the world, children are most likely to be seen as treated with respect and dignity in Asia and the Pacific. More than eight in 10 adults in the region say this, unchanged from 2017. The European Union is a close second, with 79% of adults saying children are treated with respect and dignity -- also unchanged from 2017.

Countries Where Adults Are Most Likely to Say Children Are Treated With Respect and Dignity
Do you believe that children in this country are treated with respect and dignity, or not?
Yes
%
Switzerland 98
Uzbekistan 97
Rwanda 96
Singapore 95
Tajikistan 94
United Arab Emirates 94
Norway 93
Austria 91
Finland 91
Luxembourg 91
Gallup World Poll, 2018

The nations that constitute Asia and the Pacific do not dominate the list of those most likely to see children as treated with respect. Only Singapore breaks into the top 10, though a number of other nations come close.

In contrast, several European nations, including Norway, Austria, Finland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, are among those where the population is most likely to agree that children are treated with respect.

Unlike the countries whose populations are least likely to say children are treated with respect, the top 10 nations are -- for the most part -- quite affluent and generally have not experienced serious turmoil in recent years. Rwanda is an outlier based on the county's history. However, Rwandans tend to answer "yes" to this item and, in general, this reflects the positive environment that surrounds children in the country.

While affluent countries generally rank highly, in the U.S., 63% of the public agrees that children are treated with respect, slightly lower than the 67% global average.

Bottom Line

On the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, there is cause for optimism, with much of the globe perceiving that children in their countries are respected. However, these beliefs are not shared universally. Among the countries that are more pessimistic, there is a general pattern of political upheaval and turmoil in recent years, which suggests these troubles may be weighing on residents' perceptions of the treatment of children.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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