Is Child Welfare Converging in the European Union?
Discussion of convergence in the European Union in recent years has centred on macroeconomic indicators, in line with requirements for participation in the single currency. But it is convergence of living standards that is an ultimate goal of European Integration - the greater "economic and social cohesion" emphasized by the Treaty on Union. We assemble evidence on whether the well-being of one part of Europe's people, children, has been converging over the last two decades. We discuss methodological issues raised by measuring child welfare and its convergence in a group of countries, and then look in turn at trends in the economic well-being of children, mortality among children and young people, education, teenage fertility, and teenagers' own views of their life satisfaction. Evidence of convergence is mixed, and includes some trends of an unwelcome sort - convergence at a lower average level of welfare. The conclusions include comment on the need for more measurement of child well-being in Europe.
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