UNICEF is an acronym for United Nations Children’s Fund, formerly (1946–53) United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. The organisation is a special programme of the United Nations, established in 1946 to provide relief to children in countries devastated during the second world war. After 1950, the fund directed its efforts towards general programmes devoted to aiding national efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education and general welfare of children (Encyclopædia Britannica 2006).


  1. The State of the World’s Children
    Including economic and social data from all around the world, The State of the World’s Children is the flagship publication of UNICEF. On the webiste, users can access data derived from this publication.
  2. TransMONEE
    The TransMONEE database – a compilation of data on the situation and wellbeing of children, young people and women in Central Eastern Europe and Commonwealth of independent States (CEECIS).

State of the World’s Children (SOWC)




On-screen tables, Excel


See below



Last reviewed


Data types and sources

Data based on official registers, administrative records, national accounts, and surveys. Most of the data are collected directly from national statistical offices using a standardised template. Additional data are obtained from other international organisations or are calculated by UNICEF IRC.

Data download

State of the World’s Children


The 2011 version of the SOWC provides downloadable tables covering Basic Indicators, Nutrition, Health, HIV/AIDS, Education, Demography, Economy, Women, Child Protection, Rate of Progress, Adolescents, Equity, and Under-Five Mortality ratings.

Geographical coverage

The database is global in scope.

Time coverage and updates

The time coverage is rather limited, generally covering only the more recent years. A limited number of indicators have a longer time scope, with some data available for selected years.

Earlier version of SOWC reports (from 1996 to present) are available from the website.


Apart from the definitions of the indicators available in the online database, the documentation is limited.

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge.

Access procedures

The database is easy to use. Users go through a two-step procedure, where they first select territories and thereafter indicators. It is not possible to specify time period, and it seems that when data exist for more than one year, they are pooled together into one value. Specific countries or pre-defined functional or geographical regions such as “industrial regions” or South Asia may be chosen as well.

Data formats

On-screen tables. Download available in Excel format.

Comparability and data quality

Not examined, but UNICEF states that data “are based on internationally comparable and statistically sound data. Data quality is likely to be negatively affected for countries that have recently suffered from human-caused or natural disasters” (UNICEF General note on the data from 2008). See also see UNICEF (1998).


Abouharb, M. Rodwan, and Anessa L. Kimball. 2007. “A new dataset on infant mortality rates, 1816-2002”. Journal of Peace Research 44 (November): 743-754.

Encyclopædia Britannica. 2006. “UNICEF”. Retrieved 2 November 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

UNICEF. 1998. Indicators for Global Monitoring of Child Rights. Summary report and background papers from international meeting sponsored by UNICEF, Geneva, Switzerland, 9-12 February 1998. New York: Division of Evaluation, Policy and Planning, UNICEF.