Tag Archives: survey

Survey Shows Americans Severely Underestimate Number of Child Laborers

By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer

The number of children and youths who work — whether they’re paid or unpaid — is notoriously hard to pin down. Many countries have laws against employing children, but industries still continue to use child laborers despite legal and social consequences.

What number would you guess is accurate? A million? Six million? Ten?

Not even close.

Bolivian shoeshiner

A Bolivian boy shines shoes in Tarija. This photo was entered in a 2012 youth photography contest held by ChildFund Bolivia.

The estimated number of child laborers ages 5 to 14 is 150 million, according to UNICEF. But only 1 percent of 1,022 Americans in a recent survey conducted for ChildFund answered correctly; 73 percent said less than 1 million children are engaged in labor in developing countries. 

Other statistics reported in the survey, which was conducted in late June by Ipsos Public Affairs, are more encouraging; a majority of respondents say they’re willing to pay more for clothing produced without the use of child laborers, and 77 percent say they would stop purchasing clothing from labels that are found to use child labor. That’s good.

But it’s important for children all over the world — including those risking their lives in African gold mines, spending hours in the sun harvesting sugarcane in the Philippines, burning their fingers while making glass bangles at home in India or working for no money at all, as hundreds of thousands of Brazilian children do — for Americans to be more aware of the scope of the problem.

girl making bangles

An Indian girl, Sarita, makes bangles.

Almost one in six children ages 5 to 14 in developing countries are engaged in labor; aside from the potential physical hazards, these children are unlikely to complete their education. And thus the generational cycle of poverty continues. ChildFund supports many programs that assist families caught in this vicious circle by providing training for safer, more stable ways to earn income, giving assistance to children and youth to keep them in school longer and working with entire communities to discourage the employment of children.

The missing piece here is broader awareness in the United States and other prosperous countries. Child labor is a worldwide problem that touches everyone in some way, and we need to use this knowledge to engage and educate industries on how to change their practices and stop exploiting children.

Children Share Their Hopes, Dreams, Fears

by Cynthia Price, Director of Communications

In the Victorian era, children were to be seen and not heard. Today, we know it’s important to listen to children. At ChildFund, we really listen to children. We just heard from more than 6,000!

We asked them about their hopes, dreams and fears. We even asked them about the environment. It’s part of our third annual survey of children conducted with other members of ChildFund Alliance.

illustration of childThe Small Voices, Big Dreams survey found that 10- to 12-year-olds from Africa, Asia and the Americas put an overwhelming emphasis on their schooling, have admirable aspirations for their future and have personally experienced such natural disasters as drought, flood or fire.

What struck me as I read the results was the wisdom of these children from 47 countries. They are well aware of what they need for a brighter future. If they were president of their countries, they said their priorities would include improving education, curtailing pollution and planting more trees.

One in two children in developing countries said she or he would improve education or provide greater enrichment opportunities. This answer really hits me hard. Having visited some of our programs around the world, I know how important education is to a brighter future. And each day, as I pass the reconstructed Kenyan classroom in ChildFund’s headquarters lobby, I am reminded of the constant lack. Too often children have only pencil nubs to write with, not enough notebooks to write in and few books to read. Chalkboards are cracked, maps are tattered and classrooms are terribly overcrowded. Despite such conditions, children show up every day ready to learn.

The good news is that child sponsorship helps improve educational opportunities. Children have revitalized schools and an adequate supply of pencils and books for writing and reading. They have trained teachers who are excited to teach and help students grow in their confidence. In fact, many of the children surveyed said they want to become a teacher (24%) or a doctor (27%). They aspire to careers that they know will make a difference in their lives and in their community. The professions are in contrast to children in the U.S., who most wanted to become pro athletes (18%).

young girl in front of houseAnd while the survey found that at least one in three children from developing countries has experienced drought (40%), flood (33%) or forest/bush fire (30%), their biggest ecological concern was the growing threat of pollution on the environment. One in four children cited various forms of pollution as the “environmental problem they worry about most.”

When asked what one thing they would do to change the environment around their community, 28 percent of children in developing nations said they would plant more trees and build more parks. A similar number (29%) of children in developed countries said their top priority would be to reduce or stop littering.

As we reaffirm every year in the Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, children have important things to say and we must listen to their concerns and their ideas.

Learn more about the survey and download a copy of the full report.

ChildFund Australia Survey Finds Child Poverty Top of Mind

Poverty and hardship for children in developing countries is the global problem of greatest importance to Australians, according to survey results released today.

ChildFund Australia’s third annual survey, “Australian Perceptions of Child Poverty and Aid Effectiveness in Developing Countries,” finds that two-thirds of Australians believe international aid is effective to some degree. More than one-third of Australians think spending on international aid should increase, while half feel it should stay the same. Only 9% of Australians think we should be spending less on international aid.

The survey results echo a 2009 U.S. survey by ChildFund International that found 66% of Americans believe the United States has an obligation to help poor children around the world. Almost one-third (31%) of Americans surveyed said that aid to the globe’s poorest children should be the number one charitable priority in the U.S.

Other top global concerns for Australians are war and armed conflict, terrorism and refugees/human rights abuses. Concern about climate change and the environment has significantly decreased, while the global financial crisis is ranked as the problem of least concern.

ChildFund Australia’s research, also conducted in 2007 and 2008, examines the views of more than 1,000 Australians about international aid issues. This year, a children’s survey was introduced to find out what Australian children think about poverty and aid.

Among 200 Australian children, the survey found that children hold many similar views to adults. However, children believe lack of food is the most pressing concern facing children in developing countries, whereas adults rank water and sanitation as the greatest concern. Also evident is that Australian children are even more worried than adults about the plight of children in developing countries and believe Australians should be giving more money to help them.

Download a PDF copy of the report from ChildFund Australia’s website.

Study Reveals Americans’ Views on Poverty

Helping the world’s poor children should be a top priority, according to a national telephone survey commissioned by ChildFund International.

“It is heartening, especially in light of a challenging economy, to see that so many Americans recognize the plight of millions of children around the world whose needs are so great,” observes ChildFund President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard.

The telephone survey of 1,000 randomly selected Americans was conducted by Ispos Public Affairs in December.

An overwhelming number of Americans (66 percent) believes that the United States has an obligation to help poor children around the world. Almost one third (31 percent) think that aid to the globe’s poorest children should be our nation’s number one charitable priority.

The survey revealed a varying spectrum of awareness about conditions affecting poor children around the world. On average, Americans rightly estimated that 47 percent of the world’s children live in poverty, with two in three (66 percent) survey respondents correctly identifying malnutrition as the single largest cause of death, outside of trauma, for children under 5 years of age.

Americans are backing up their convictions with their pocketbooks. Among those surveyed, 62 percent say they have donated to an international relief agency.

ChildFund plans to conduct the study annually.

To read the survey results, visit our Web site.