First ever survey among children about their welfare

Children in Barcelona want more time for themselves and greater personal autonomy. That’s the conclusion of the first ever subjective survey on their wellbeing, conducted among 4,000 children between 10 and 12, at 52 schools around the city.

The project ‘Children speak: the subjective wellbeing of childhood in Barcelona’ is a new tool to periodically gather subjective data about childhood. This is new data, as it’s the first time a survey has been conducted to ask children about topics relating to welfare in the main spheres of their lives: family, friendship, school and their local neighbourhood.

The Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Laia Ortiz, noted: “This project goes further than a survey. It’s not just about listening, but also about dialogue with children and them being the ones who tell us what the results mean and what they want to say”.

Results: 69% total satisfaction

The results from the survey show that 69% of children stated they are completely satisfied with their lives in general, the other 31% explaining they are not.

At the same time, and according to where they live, there is a notable difference of 6% between children who state they don’t feel totally satisfied. The dissatisfaction expressed by 33% of children in neighbourhoods with low incomes drops to 27% in neighbourhoods with high incomes.

The areas where children feel least satisfied in are free time and autonomy. Some 53% claim they have no free time, while 48% want more self-sufficiency. In addition, 42% are not satisfied enough with their life as a pupil and 40% are not satisfied enough about their use of their time. In contrast, health is the aspect which scores best among children (85% completely satisfied), while 27% declared they are not happy enough with their bodies.

Participatory process

Barcelona City Council is interested not only in gauging and improving the wellbeing described by children, but also guaranteeing their right to be heard and to contribute to the city project. To this end, a stage now begins whereby the results will be sent to the schools participating in the study and a participatory process with children will be held, running until the end of April. During this stage, children will interpret the initial results and make proposals for action to improve their welfare. At the end of the current school year the final report on the project will be published.