An Urgent Need

Millions of children throughout the world live under conditions of serious deprivation or danger.  Children who experience violence or are exploited, abandoned, abused, or severely neglected (in or out of families), face significant threats to their survival and well-being as well as profound life cycle risks that have an impact on human, social, and economic development.  Children in the most dire straits include those without protective family care or living in abusive households, on the streets or in institutions, trafficked, participating in armed groups, and/or exploited for their labor. Many more live within fragile families and face a multitude of risks posed by extreme poverty, disease, disability, conflict, and disaster. 

Children in Adversity: A Global Profile

PL10995 Indicators for population, poverty, and objectives 1,2 and 3
Indicators Year Percent2 Number Geographic Coverage Info*


Population children (aged 0-4)1 2015 9.1% 673,700,000 Global 1a
Population children (aged 0-17) 2015 31.0% 2,287,100,000 Global 1b


Children living in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 per day) (aged 0-17) 2009-13 19.5% 385,000,000 Developing countries 2

Objective 1: Build strong beginnings

Children who are stunted (aged 0-4) 2000-16 22.9% 154,300,000 Global 3
Children who are disabled (aged 0-17) 2002-04 15.5% 354,500,000 Global 4
Children with blood levels above 10 µg/dl  (aged 0-4) 2004 16.0% 96,700,000 Developing countries 5
Children living with HIV (aged 0-14) 2016 0.1% 2,100,000 Global 6a
Adolescents living with HIV- female (aged 10-19) 2016 0.21% 1,200,000 Global 6b
Adolescents living with HIV- male (aged 10-19) 2016 0.14% 900,000 Global 6c

Objective 2: Put family care first

Children who have lost one or both parents due to all causes (aged 0-17) 2016 6.2% 142,000,000 Global 7a
Children who have lost one or both parents due to AIDS (aged 0-17) 2016 0.7% 16,500,000 Global 7b
Children in residential care (aged 0-17) 2012-17 0.1% 2,700,000 Global 8
Children in foster care (aged 0-17) 2012-17 0.3% 1,600,000 CEE/CIS, MENA, and Industrialized countries3 only 9
Children out of school (primary aged) 2016 9.0% 63,300,000 Global 10

Objective 3: Protect children from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect

Children uprooted due to conflict or natural disaster (aged 0-17) 2016 1.2% 35,000,000 Global 11
Children who have experienced violent discipline at home (aged 1-14) 2010-16 79.0% 280,200,000 Developing countries 12
Adolescent girls (aged 15-19) who have experienced forced sex in their lifetime 2005-16 5.2% 15,000,000 Global  13
Child marriage: women aged 20-24 who were married or in union before age 18 2010-16 25.0% 60,900,000 Global, excluding China 14
Children in hazardous work (aged 5-17) 2016 4.6% 72,500,000 Global  15

NA -- Valid sources of data were not available.

1 Aged 0-4 includes all children from newborns until the end of their 4th year (i.e. aged 0-59 months).

2 The percent given represents the percentage of the child population affected within the specific age group, gender, and geographic coverage given for the indicator (with the exception of indicators 1a-1d, for which the percentage given is the percentage of the global or developing country population that is in the 0-4 or 0-17 age group).

3 CEE/CIS and MENA regional groupings follow the UNICEF regional groupings for drawing population totals from UN World Population Prospects, and the Industrialized countries grouping follows the designation of "high-income countries" for drawing a population total from UN World Population Prospects.

* Please see the online annex [PDF, 252KB] for further detail on calculations, sources, indicator definitions, and trends.

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