Is the study of the "State of our children" changing? Re-visiting after 5 years

Asher Ben-Arieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Recent years have brought growing attention to the efforts to measure and monitor children's well-being. This growing attention can be seen in the quantity of various "State of the Child" reports. This study reevaluates how the field studies the state of children around the globe. Findings support earlier research showing that the field is going through three major shifts: from a focus on a child's mere survival to a focus on well-being and other attributes; from a focus on negative aspects in children's lives to one focused on positive aspects; and from a focus on well-becoming (attaining eventual well-being in adulthood) to well-being (attaining well-being during childhood). The study further demonstrates these shifts to be correlated with changes in the "philosophy" or approach of many of the more recent reports (e.g., the incorporation of subjective perception as well as the child's perspective and the use of the child as the unit of observation). Finally, the study predicts that the field will continue to move in these three directions but likely at a considerably faster pace. We further anticipate that the continuation of the current trends will lead to children becoming active participants in such efforts rather then subjects for research.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)799-811
Number of pages13
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is based on a research which was partially funded by the Anne E. Casey Foundation during his sabbatical at the Institute for Families and Neighborhood Life at Clemson University.


  • Children well-being
  • Measuring and monitoring
  • Social indicators
  • State of the child


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