The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an urban world


Today more than one billion children (nearly half the world’s children) live in urban areas across the globe. UNICEF has devoted the 2012 edition of its flagship report The State of the World’s Children to them.

“The experience of childhood is increasingly urban. Over half the world’s people – including more than a billion children – now live in cities and towns.

While cities have long been associated with employment, development and economic growth, hundreds of millions of children in the world’s urban areas are growing up amid scarcity and deprivation. The State of the World’s Children 2012 presents the hardships these children face as violations of their rights as well as impediments to fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals. The report examines major phenomena shaping the lives of children in urban settings, including migration, economic shocks and acute disaster risk.”

The report begins with an overview of an increasingly urban world, before looking at children’s rights in terms of education, health, protection and water, sanitation and hygiene. A chapter then focuses on some of the challenges linked to the urban world: those that push children towards urban areas and those that are experienced by children arriving or living in towns and cities, whilst another presents examples of good practice and efforts to improve cities for children. The document ends with policy recommendations and comprehensive statistical tables.

Link to UNICEF’s The State of the World’s Children 2012: Children in an urban world (pdf file, 156 pages).

Link to the UNICEF press release introducing the report. Alternatively visit