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Last update: Jan 2012

UNICEF documents and publications

  • ‘Child labour and school attendance: Evidence from MICS and DHS surveys’
    Friedrich Huebler, Division of Policy and Practice, UNICEF, September 2008.
    [Download PDF] (256 KB)
    Abstract: Child labour is one of the obstacles on the way to the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education. This paper presents data on child labour and school attendance from 35 household surveys that cover one quarter of the world’s population. The data were collected with Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) between 1999 and 2005. Estimates for child labour and school attendance are described at the aggregate level for each country, as well as disaggregated by age, sex, place of residence and household wealth. A series of bivariate probit regressions identifies the determinants of child labour and school attendance at the household level. Children from poor households and from households without a formally educated household head are more likely to be engaged in child labour and less likely to attend school than members of rich households and children living with an educated household head. This finding lends strong support to the hypothesis that poverty is the root cause of child labour. The paper concludes with recommendations for targeted cash transfers as a means to increase school attendance and reduce child labour.


  • ‘Child labour, education and the principle of non-discrimination’
    Elizabeth D. Gibbons, Friedrich Huebler and Edilberto Loaiza; Division of Policy and Planning, UNICEF, November 2005.
    [Download PDF] (152 KB)
    Abstract: UNICEF estimates that out of the 115 million children out of school, 62 million of them are girls. Many of these children work but traditional indicators of child labour often underestimate the amount of girls’ work because they ignore household chores. The human rights principle of non-discrimination requires that all work by children – whether of a domestic nature or not – be considered equally in the analysis of child labour. This paper presents estimates of child labour in sub-Saharan Africa that include household chores and thus reveal the discrimination against girls. The authors also investigate to what extent participation in child labour leads to lower school attendance and increased repetition and drop-out rates, and whether child labour affects girls and boys differently. The data in the study were collected in MICS and DHS household surveys from 18 African countries. Sixty per cent of children aged 7 to 14 years in the sample are attending school, and 38 per cent are engaged in child labour. Twenty per cent of all children are combining school attendance and child labour. A regression analysis shows that household wealth and education of the mother are the most important determinants of school attendance. Children from wealthier households and children of mothers with a formal education are more likely to attend school. In the majority of the countries in the study, boys, urban residents and children not engaged in labour also have an increased probability of school attendance.


  • Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children statistical review UNICEF, 2007
    [Download PDF] (3.6 MB)
    Abstract: Progress for children: A World Fit for Children statistical review reports on how well the world is doing in meeting its commitments for the world’s children. This UNICEF special edition analyses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in four priority areas for children: promoting healthy lives, providing a quality education, combating HIV and AIDS, and protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence.