A new report from the Children in North America project finds that, while the continent’s children have grown healthier and better educated over the last several decades, Mexico lags both Canada and the United States in providing education and health care to its children.

Growing Up in North America: Child Well-Being in Canada, the United States, and Mexico provides a wide range of indicators on North America’s children in three broad areas: health and safety, economic security, and capacity and citizenship. It reveals that 79 percent of adults in Mexico ages 25-34 had not received a high school diploma and that one-third of all Mexican children lack access to health insurance—particularly indigenous-language speakers. In contrast, Canada provides universal health coverage for its children, while 11 percent of U.S. children in 2003 were without health insurance.

But the report finds that other indicators have held steady or even improved in recent decades for all three countries. Child poverty rates, for instance, have declined since the 1990s in all three countries—falling to under 25 percent in Mexico, 22 percent in the United States, and less than 15 percent in Canada. And infant mortality in Mexico has declined dramatically since 1970—from 79.3 deaths per 1,000 live births to 21.4 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2002.

Issued by the Children in North America project partners—the Canadian Council on Social Development, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Red por los Derechos de la Infancia en México (The Children’s Rights Network in Mexico)—Growing Up in North America is based on the premise that measuring and monitoring the well-being of children and analyzing sound data pave the way for providing decisionmakers with evidence on how youth have been profoundly affected by economic and social integration.

The report has been published in three languages and is available at www.childreninnorthamerica.org. A series of reports from the Children in North America project partners focusing on health, economic security, and civic engagement is scheduled for release over the next two years.

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