The Good Childhood Report 2012

Our latest well-being report, The Good Childhood Report 2012, reveals that half a million children across the UK are unhappy with their lives. 

It outlines six key priorities needed for a happy childhood, after interviewing more than 30,000 children aged eight to 16.

Children who have low levels of happiness are much less likely to enjoy being at home with their family, feel safe when with their friends, like the way they look and feel positive about their future. Children unhappy in this way are also more likely to be victimised, have eating disorders or be depressed.  

Key findings in  The Good Childhood Report 2012 include: 

  • Choice and family have the biggest impact on children’s happiness. 
  • The quality of children’s relationships with their families is far more important than the structure of the family that they live in.
  • Low well-being increases dramatically with age – doubling from the age of 10 (7%) to the age of 15 (14%).
  • Children as young as eight are aware of the financial issues their families face.  Children in families who have experienced a reduction in income are more likely to have low well-being. 
  • Children who do not have clothes to ‘fit in’ with peers are more than three times as likely to be unhappy with their appearance. Children who are unhappy with their appearance are also much more likely than average to experience frequent bullying.

Please read the full report or the research summary

The Archbishop of York discusses the Good Childhood Report 2012

The Archbishop of York spoke of the Good Childhood Report 2012 as he delivered this year's Edward Rudolf Lecture. The Archbishop's speech focused on children's well-being and the importance of listening to children's voices, stable families and communities, and financial equality.

The Archbishop said: 'What primary school children and teenagers tell us about their lives is that what is most important to them are the relationships which surround and nurture them. What they tell us is that material prosperity is not the most important thing in their lives. It is love.'

Transcript and audio

The Archbishop's speech is available as a transcript and as an audio recording.

To listen to the audio recording, click 'Part 1' to begin streaming the entire speech -- the second and third parts of the Archbishop's speech should follow the first.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

(Alternatively, each part of the Archbishop's speech may be downloaded. To do so, right-click on each link above, select 'Save link as. . .' then select a location on your computer to save each file. The files are in mp3 format.)