Children are the happiest in Kerala and the least happy in Madhya Pradesh. The India Child Well-Being Report released on Tuesday analysed the well being of children based on 24 government data indicators. The report has been compiled by non-profit World Vision India and the Institute of Financial Management and Research.

The indicators are a mix of health, education, human rights, family income and so on. Health indicators such as stunting and infant mortality, under-five mortality rate, mental health/ illnesses, sex-ratio, adolescent pregnancy (women aged 15 to 19 years who were already mothers or pregnant), education indicators such as passing tenth grade, the pupil-teacher ratio, basic reading and math skills, drop-out rates in secondary school, crime indicators such as juvenile crimes, suicide rates, child labour, economic indicators such as houselessness, households with income less than Rs 5,000 and labour indicators such as manual scavenging. All indicators were brought to a common scale of measurement and normalised.

Among the states, Kerala topped the list with a score of 0.76. Recording a score of 0.44, Madhya Pradesh was in the last quartile, with the least score on child well-being. Among the Union Territories, the well-being score for the National Capital Territories of Delhi was 0.53, closely followed by Dadra Nagar Haveli at 0.52.

On many measures of child well-being, Kerala surpassed most Indian states by ensuring access to good health and nutrition to children and safe drinking water and sanitation, providing quality education and addressing poverty. “Among the Union Territories, Puducherry topped with good scores in the areas of providing health, nutrition and clean water and addressing poverty.

However, a low performance in the areas of child survival, nutrition, crimes against children and juvenile crimes, brought the scores down for Madhya Pradesh. More children live in poorer families in Madhya Pradesh,” the report stated.

The report further said, for Jharkhand, child survival, nutrition and access to water and sanitation are the key areas that need to be focussed on, to improve its score. More children were stunted and underweight, access to institutional delivery was low and a higher number of children were dying before they turned five.

Efforts were needed to ensure children complete schooling, since more children were dropping out of school in the state. Survival, nutrition and basic education are other aspects in which Jharkhand performed the lowest among all Indian states.

Multiple North-Eastern states featured in the top rungs of this dimension of providing positive relationships for the child, with more children enjoying care in the environment they are growing up in. The North-Eastern states had a better sex ratio, with lesser involvement of children in crimes and most births being registered.

Nagaland topped the first quartile of states. The involvement of children in crimes was low in Nagaland, more births were registered, and suicides among children were low. However, another North-Eastern state Sikkim was at the bottom of the last quartile, owing to its higher number of crimes by juveniles and suicides among children.