The KidsRights Index is the annual global index which ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve children’s rights. The KidsRights Index is an initiative of the KidsRights Foundation, in cooperation with Erasmus University Rotterdam: Erasmus School of Economics and the International Institute of Social Studies. It comprises a ranking for all UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and for which sufficient data is available, a total of 181 countries. 


3 Sources


The KidsRights Index pools data from three reputable sources: quantitative data published and regularly updated by UNICEF  and  UNDP and qualitative data published by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in the detailed individual country reports (the so-called Concluding Observations) that it adopts for all states that are parties to the CRC. The latter is a formal and public document that the Committee adopts after countries that are parties to the  UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (i.e. all except the USA) have reported to the Committee on what they have actually done to realize the Convention in practice.
The KidsRights Index makes these data more accessible to a broader audience, in an effort to stimulate dialogue about children’s rights.
5 domains
The KidsRights Index is based on five domains: the right to [1] life, [2] health, [3] education, [4] protection and [5] the enabling environment for child rights. Domain 1 to 4 are based on the quantitative data published and regularly updated by UNICEF. Domain 5, the ‘Enabling Environment for Child Rights’ - or Child Rights Environment in short reveals the extent to which countries have operationalized the general principles of the CRC (non-discrimination; best interests of the child; respect for the views of the child/participation) and the extent to which there is a basic ‘infrastructure’ for child rights policy, in the form of enabling national legislation; mobilization of the ‘best available’ budget; collection and analysis of disaggregated data; and state-civil society cooperation for child rights).  

The scores on Domain 5 are derived from the Concluding Observations adopted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. These Concluding Observations finish off the state reporting procedure under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and represent the Committee’s views on the level of realization of children’s rights in a particular country. The KidsRights Index reflects the latest Concluding Observations available in the year proceeding the publication of the Index. 

In line with UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child takes into account the development level and/or implementation capacity of those states parties. The Concluding Observations, and thus also the findings of the KidsRights Index in Domain 5, are therefore relative to the country’s situation. 

For example, according to article 4 of the CRC, states have to mobilize ‘the maximum extent of their available resources’. This may have different actual implications for some states as compared to others. For example, a highly developed country can be expected to mobilize more resources than a least developed country. Accordingly, in situations in which relatively limited means are available to implement the CRC, political will to genuinely prioritize children’s rights by allocating the maximum/best available budget can make a significant difference. Likewise, well-resourced countries might nevertheless have failed to adequately address discrimination of children or may not have been active on gathering disaggregated data on the situation of (particular groups of) children in that country.  
Also, the CRC Committee tends to assess a state more strictly over time, for example because previous Concluding Observations were not acted upon. 
In total, the KidsRights Index includes 13 quantitative and 7 qualitative indicators which, insofar as they are available, are systematically and similarly rated for all countries. The KidsRights Index also signals whether data are missing. These five domains cover as many aspects of children’s rights as possible for which reliable and comparable data is available. The KidsRights Index is a combination of quantitative and qualitative indicators that measure quantifiable indicators, the right to education and the right to life, as well as the more qualitative indicators, such as non-discrimination and child participation.


In total, the KidsRights Index includes 13 quantitative and 7 qualitative indicators which, insofar as they are available, are systematically and similarly rated for all countries.

 Domain Indicators 
Life Under 5 mortality
Life expectancy at birth
Maternal mortality rate
Health % under 5 year olds suffering from underweight
Immunization of 1 year old children
% of population using improved sanitation facilities (urban and rural)
% of population using improved drinking water sources (urban and rural)
Education  Expected years of schooling girls
Expected years of schooling boys
Gender inequality in expected years of schooling (absolute difference 
between boys and girls)
Protection Child labour
Adolescent birth rate
Birth registration
Enabling Environment for Child Rights Non-discrimination
Best interests of the child
Respect for the views of the child/child participation
Enabling legislation
Best available budget
Collection and analysis of disaggregate data
State-civil society cooperation for child rights


Definitions of the indicators can be found here. 



Improvements in 2018

From the 6th KidsRights Index (2018) onwards the Education domain is based on the indicator ‘Expected years of schooling’. This indicator, which is also used in the Human Development Index (HDI), is a measure of the years of schooling that a child of school entrance age can expect to receive if prevailing patterns of age-specific enrolment rates persist throughout the child’s life. As such, the new indicator shows the opportunities for learning or educational development of a child in a specific country. In order to also capture differences between girls and boys, the Education domain is now constructed on the basis of three indicators:
1. Expected years of schooling of girls
2. Expected years of schooling of boys
3. Gender inequality in expected years of schooling (absolute difference between girls and boys).

The data for the three indicators of the Education Domain come from UNDP and are available at  

The new indicators used in the improved Education domain are also available for more countries than the previously used indicators were. Thus, in the 2018 KidsRights Index a total number of 17 countries that previously could not be included for a lack of sufficient data, are added. 


A country’s total score on the KidsRights Index (T) has been calculated as the geometric average of the scores of the five domains. Each domain has the same weight. The scores for each domain are calculated as the average value of the indicators. All indicators have been standardized using a linear scaling technique:


where  is the score on indicator i of country j, and Max and Min represent the maximum and minimum scores on this indicator. This scaling technique ensures that the score for each indicator ranges between 0 and 1. All indicators were coded positively. This means that a higher score for each indicator can be associated with a positive contribution to the rights of children.

As of 2016 the KidsRights Index took an improved approach when dealing with missing values. The score for a domain is not calculated if more than half of the indicators of that domain have a missing value. A country is not included in the overall Index if the score on domain 5 ‘Child Rights Environment’ is missing. A country is also not included if more than half of the domain scores are missing (e.g. when three or more domains are missing).  

The advantage of this new approach is that the scores for the domains and the total Index are now completely based on the most recent available data (there are no imputations of missing values based on historical data). Moreover, the restrictions on calculating the domain scores and the overall score make sure that these scores are based on a substantial number of indicators. In the previous versions of the KidsRights Index, the score of countries with many missing values could be based on just a small number of indicators, and therefore be sensitive for very high or low scoring based on a few indicators. 

For domain 5, the information derived from the qualitative Concluding Observations was initially scored on a scale between 1 and 3. Assignment of the actual score to each sub-indicator was based on the language used by the CRC Committee in the Concluding Observations: predominantly negative language = 1, a combination of positive and negative language = 2, predominantly positive language = 3. The resulting final scores have also been standardized by using the above mentioned linear scaling technique. 

The index is a ranked country list, with colour-coding indicating relevant clusters of rankings. There are five different clusters which display a more or less similar performance level, as each cluster concerns countries for which the scores belong to the same distribution. Within a cluster the scores of countries are thus more similar then across clusters. The clusters are expressed in coloured world maps. 

If a country ranks 16-31 for example, it means that a country shares a rank with several countries that received the exact same score. Only when scores are different a country can be ranked individually. 



Reports and publications

Please feel free to read the publications of the KidsRights Index 2019 and the Indexes of previous years. Reports based on the KidsRights can be found here as well.

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KidsRights Index 2019 available now!
Economic growth doesn't lead to improved children's rights

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KidsRights Index 2019 Report

Report on the results of the KidsRights Index 2019

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An easy overview of the KidsRights Index 2019

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