Childhood is
Ending Too Soon

End of Childhood

Childhood should be a time to learn, play, grow, develop, and feel safe and protected. However, nearly one in four children around the world are being robbed of their childhoods, simply because of who they are or where they live.

Extreme violence, conflict, forced displacement, child labor and child marriage are just some of the threats to childhood expectancy — the time that a child has to experience childhood — and perpetuate a vicious cycle of poverty.

In our new End of Childhood Report and Index, we examine:

  • Eight life events that signal the end of childhood
  • The harsh realities faced by the most vulnerable, excluded children — including girls, refugees, street children, and children with disabilities

By examining what ends childhood around the world, we can ensure every last child has a complete childhood and reaches their full potential

Download our End of Childhood report in full.

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8 Childhood Enders

Child dies

child dies

Every day, more than 16,000 children die before reaching their 5th birthday, mostly from preventable or treatable causes.

Child is malnourished

child is severely

156 million children under age 5 have stunted growth due to malnutrition – almost 1 in 4 kids.


Child is
out of school

263 million children are out of school – that's more than 1 in 6 school-aged children worldwide.

Child labor

child labor

168 million children worldwide are involved in child labor – that's more than all the children in Europe.

Child brides

child brides

Globally, one girl under 15 gets married every seven seconds.

Child has a child

has a child

Every two seconds, a girl gives birth.

Child violence

Child is a
victim of extreme violence

Every day, more than 200 boys and girls around the world are murdered.

Child is displaced

child is displaced by conflict

Conflict has forced nearly 1 child in 80 from their homes, and some even onto the front lines.

An Unboxing Surprise

We asked three children to unbox new toys for us – it didn't go as planned. Watch what happened.


2017 Index Rankings

The End of Childhood Index compares data for 172 countries ranking the places where childhood is most or least threatened around the world.

Top 10

Where childhood is least threatened

  • 1 Norway
  • 1 Slovenia
  • 3 Finland
  • 4 Netherlands
  • 4 Sweden
  • 6 Portugal
  • 7 Ireland
  • 8 Iceland
  • 8 Italy
  • 10 Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, South Korea

Bottom 10

Where childhood is most threatened

  • 163 Guinea
  • 163 Sierra Leone
  • 165 Burkina Faso
  • 166 South Sudan
  • 167 Chad
  • 168 Somalia
  • 169 Central African Republic
  • 170 Mali
  • 171 Angola
  • 172 Niger

Child Marriage in Somalia

Amal was only 13 when she was forced to marry a man in his forties. After two days, she managed to escape to a nearby village. A survivor of child marriage, she is now working to rebuild her life and hopes to return to school.

Learn more about Amal's story within our Global Childhood Report


Child Labor in India

Kamal was forced to leave school at age 11 because of poverty. He grew up in a violent environment, where physical and verbal abuse were common. He was forced to take a job in a roadside restaurant, enduring 24-hour shifts and an unending cycle of cooking, cleaning and waiting tables.

Learn more about Kamal's story within our Global Childhood Report

Help Make a Difference!


Stolen childhoods are the result of choices that exclude children by design or neglect – a key barrier being insufficient, inefficient and unequal public investment in children.

Save the Children is calling on world leaders to ensure that all children have a full and complete childhood by investing in children. Together we are powerful. You can help us to amplify this ask with world leaders by taking an action and signing our petition today!

Take Action

Help fund the work we do to protect childhoods of the most vulnerable children around the world.

Make a donation

Our Every Last Child Campaign

The world has made incredible progress for children - but millions are still being denied the opportunity to survive and learn simply because of who they are and where they live. Save the Children's campaign – Every Last Child – strives to do whatever it takes to reach the world's most excluded children.

Without urgent action to tackle this exclusion, progress for children will slow and may even halt altogether. With this campaign we are asking the world to put excluded children first and remove the barriers that exclude millions of children from healthcare, nutrition and education each year.

With your help, we can build a world in which no child’s opportunities are determined by who they are or where they were born. Together we can reach every last child.

Our Every Last Child campaign will address some of the key causes of exclusion so that we can reach 15 million children and contribute towards progress on the SDGs. Together we can reach every last child.

Learn more about our campaign