Post-Election, World”s Poorest Children Weigh In with Own Presidential Priorities, Concerns

Less than a month after the presidential election in the United States, more than 6,200 children from 47 countries around the world are weighing in with their own set of presidential priorities, an agenda that includes improving education, curtailing pollution and planting more trees. And the biggest fear of these would-be chief executives? Animals.

The 6,200 children surveyed responded to six questions, including, “If you were president or leader of your country, what would you do to improve the lives of children in your country?” One in two (50%) respondents in developing countries said they would improve education or provide greater enrichment opportunities. Another 22 percent said they would provide for such basic needs as food, clothing and shelter, which was the answer most cited among children in developed countries (25%).

Consistent with their emphasis on education, a majority of children in developing countries, when asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, responded with professions that require a college education, with doctor (27%) and teacher (24%) as the top answers.

For the first time, this year’s survey included some questions related to the environment. While the survey found that at least one in three children from developing countries has experienced drought (40%), flood (33%) or forest/bush fire (30%), their biggest ecological concern was not a natural disaster but the growing threat of pollution to the environment. One in four children (26%) cited various forms of pollution as the environmental problem they worry about most, edging natural disasters, named by 23 percent of children in developing countries. One in three children (33%) in developed countries singled out pollution as their most-pressing environmental concern.

When asked what one thing they would do to change the environment around their community, 28 percent of children in developing nations said they would plant more trees and build more parks. A similar number (29%) of children in developed countries said their top priority would be to reduce or stop littering.

As for their fears, the top answer among children in both developing (29%) and developed (21%) countries was the same: animals.