Ireland tops for children in jobless homes

Ireland has the highest rate of children growing up in homes where no adult is working, according to an analysis of 13 comparable countries.

Children who grow up in jobless families have poorer developmental, educational, and employment outcomes themselves.

A research report on international comparisons of health and wellbeing in early childhood reveals 16% of children up to age 14 in Ireland are living in jobless homes.

Britain, at 15.4%, has the second highest proportion of children in households where no adult is employed.

The other countries included in the comparison are Spain, Italy, Greece, Austalia, France, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the US, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

There was no data available for Canada or New Zealand.

The report, published by the Nuffield Trust Health think tank and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, found in a comparison of 15 countries, that Canada and Ireland have more young people educated to the highest level of education.

In Canada, 59.2% of those aged 25 to 34 years and 62.3% of those aged 45 to 44 years were educated to the highest level.

In Ireland, 52% of those aged 25 to 34 years and 50.8% of those age 35 to 44 years had reached third-level.

Italy has the lowest percentage of adults educated to tertiary level with 25.1% of those aged 25 to 34 years and 20.5% of those aged 35 to 44 years.

The report shows Ireland, at 7.4%, has the highest proportion of children aged up to four years, followed by New Zealand, with 6.7% and Australia at 6.45%.

Britain has relatively more children in the age group (6.2%) than Germany (4%), Italy (4.1%) or Portugal (4.1%).

Greece, meanwhile, has the highest percentage of low-weight births — those weighing less than 2.5kg, at over 9%. Ireland, at almost 6%, had the second lowest percentage of low weight babies, and Sweden the lowest, at over 4%. In Britain in 2014, 7% of babies born in Britain weighed less than 2.5kg.

The international comparison shows that Ireland has the fifth highest stillbirth rate, at 2.7 per 1,000 births. The Netherlands has the lowest at 1.8, Britain at 2.9, Germany (2.4), New Zealand (2.3), and Portugal (2.2).

The report shows Ireland has the sixth lowest breastfeeding rate of 14 countries, with 15% of infants aged under six months fed exclusively with breastmilk. Only 1% of babies aged under six months in Britain are being breastfed exclusively, compared with 34% in Portugal. France was not included in the comparison.

Britain has considerably more overweight children in a comparison of 15 countries. Ireland is in the mid-range and between Spain and Italy.

It was estimated that 26.1% of boys and 29.2% of girls aged two to 19 years were overweight or obese in Britain in 2013. In Ireland, 26.6% of boys and 26.5% of girls aged two to 19 were overweight or obese in the same year.

The international comparison shows Greece has the highest percentage of boys who are overweight or obese at 33.7%, while the US has the highest percentage of girls, overweight, at 29.7%.

There has been a 39% increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among girls in Britain since 1980. A similar trend has emerged in Canada. For boys in Britain, the increase has been 48% which is similar to the US.


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