Children Affected by Armed Conflict, 1990–2020

PRIO Policy Brief

Østby, Gudrun; Siri Aas Rustad & Andrew Arasmith (2021) Children Affected by Armed Conflict, 1990–2020, Conflict Trends, 4. Oslo: PRIO.

Download publication

While armed conflicts and crises affect people of all ages, children are particularly susceptible to the effects of violent conflict. This policy brief provides updated figures on the numbers of children at risk from violent conflict around the world. In 2020, more than two thirds of the world’s children were living in a conflict-ridden country. Approximately 452 million children – more than one in six – were living less than 50 km from where the actual fighting took place. Despite improved population data, we still need more systematic knowledge on how these children are both directly and indirectly affected by armed conflict, such as through killing and maiming, child soldier recruitment, sexual exploitation, denial of humanitarian access, and poor health conditions.

Record Number of Children at Risk of Being Recruited by Armed Actors

​Today, Save the Children launched its new report Stop the War on Children: A crisis of recruitment. The report is based on a new mapping of children at risk of being recruited or used in armed conflict conducted at PRIO, as well an update of the yearly estimation of children living in conflict zones. The findings are alarming. In 2020, approximately 337 million children, or more than 1 in 8 children, were living in a conflict zone in which one or more actors recruited children. This is the highest recorded number of children at risk of being recruited by armed actors.

An error has occurred. This application may no longer respond until reloaded. Reload 🗙