It is estimated there are tens of millions of street children throughout the world. Existing literature has identified the conditions street children live in; and additional research has shown how these conditions typically affect the self-esteem of children. There is also ample research to support self-esteem as a critical component to a healthy childhood development. Existing research suggests that street children should have a low self-esteem, however data has not yet been collected to examine if this is true. Existing literature has also not yet explored how the self-esteem of street children is a necessary component to economic development. Based on Amartaya Sen's development theory of capabilities, damaged self-esteem in street children could be considered a hindrance to development.
This paper will examine how the self-esteem of street children is important to overall economic development. To understand if the self-esteem of street children are affected how existing literature suggests, this research examines the self-esteem of street children (n=22) in the Philippines using the Culture Free Self-Esteem Inventories 3 tool, which quantifies self-esteem levels with the Global Self-Esteem Quotient (GSEQ). In comparison to the GSEQ standardized scale, almost all street children surveyed scored below average or lower. The mean GSEQ score for the street children in Manila was below average.