Østby, Gudrun; Siri Aas Rustad & Andreas Forø Tollefsen (2020) Children Affected by Armed Conflict, 1990–2019, Conflict Trends, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
The number of children living in conflict zones has been increasing since 2000.
In 2019, 1.6 billion children (69%) were living in a conflict-affected country.
Approximately 426 million children (over one in six) were living in a conflict zone in 2019. This constitutes a 2% increase from 2018.
In 2019, Africa was the world region with the highest number of children living in conflict zones (179 million), while the Middle East had the highest share of children living in conflict zones (40%).
In 2019, more than 71 million 0–5-year-olds were living in areas that had seen conflict their entire lifetime.
While armed conflicts and crises affect people of all ages, children are particularly susceptible to the effects of war. In 2019, almost two thirds of the world’s children were living in a conflict-ridden country. Approximately 426 million children – over 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.