Children's well-being study sheds new light on topic in Estonia

'Children’s Subjective Well-Being in Local and International Perspectives' is available in English on the Statistics Estonia site.
'Children’s Subjective Well-Being in Local and International Perspectives' is available in English on the Statistics Estonia site. Source: Statistics Estonia

Government agency Statistics Estonia has issued an online publication highlighting the complexity in understanding children's well-being.

Presented at the International Society for Child Indicators (ISCI) 7th international conference in Tartu, "Children's Subjective Well-Being in Local and International Perspectives" is edited by Dagmar Kutsar from the University of Tartu and Kadri Raid from Statistics Estonia. It is based on data gathered from children themselves, Statistics Estonia said in a press release. It also includes messages to policy-makers, and helps in compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into effect in 1990.

Four key members from the ISCI also contributed to the publication, giving it an international perspective.

Articles in the publication focus on children's subjective well-being, data collected from children together with international comparisons, as well as surveys of children within Estonia.

The authors' argue that viewing children's well-being solely from an adult perspective is inadequate, with children's own evaluations also being crucial. The two inputs complement each other and help to provide a clearer picture to policy makers and those working with children, Statistics Estonia says.

Children often have a say at home

The study reveals, among other things, that within the family, children's opinions are often taken into account, allowing them to take a role in decision-making.

However, such a degree of autonomy is not found in schools, the document reports, though this varies depending on class sizes and age groups. Children in smaller classes or schools tend to be more satisfied with the institution and its teachers, with younger children also reported a higher level of satisfaction, the publication says.

Analyses found in "Children's Subjective Well-Being in Local and International Perspectives" are based on focussed qualitative studies, official statistics, datasets from the International Survey of Children's Well-Being (ISCWeB) and new data from studies of parenting and children's rights in Estonia.

The recent publication echoes earlier, similar reports, including "Children in Estonia", first published in 2000 and was the first time that both the objective and subjective well-being of children in the country were discussed. This was followed in 2008 by Statistics Estonia's "Children", and in 2013, "Child Well-Being", the latter drawing on the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as the normative framework for child well-being, as well as input from experts working on the concept of measuring child well-being.

The ISCI Tartu conference runs from 27-29 Aug.

Children's Subjective Well-Being in Local and International Perspectives is available online here.


Statistics Estonia is a government agency under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance, and provides public institutions, business and research circles, international organizations and individuals with reliable and objective information on the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation and trends in Estonia.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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