Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Forum on Child and Family Statistics Releases Annual Report on National Indicators of Child Well-Being

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has released their new report on the well-being of children and families; this report has been published annually since 1997. The agency strives to make federal data available and works with 22 other federal agencies to coordinate collection and use of the data. Each report looks at 41 indicators in seven domains: Family and Social Environment, Economic Circumstances, Health Care, Physical Environment and Safety, Behavior, Education, and Health.

This year’s report shows there have been some improvements in particular indicators:
  • Preterm births declined for the fourth straight year, from 12.2 percent (2009) to 12 percent (2010)
  • Death of children before first birthday decreased from 6.4 per 1,000 births (2009) to 6.1 per 1,000 births (2010)
  • The adolescent birth rate declined, from 20 per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 (2009) to 17 per 1,000 (2010)
  • The violent crime victimization rate among youth decreased from 11 per 1,000 12-17 year olds (2009) to 7 per 1,000 (2010)
  • Children living in food insecure households decreased from 23 percent (2009) to 22 percent (2010)
  • Average mathematics scores for 4th- and 8th-grade students increased by one point from 2009 to 2011
However, the report also found that:
  • The percentage of children living in poverty increased from 21 percent (2009) to 22 percent (2010)
  • The percentage of children with at least one parent employed full time, year round decreased from 72 percent (2009) to 71 percent (2010)
  • The percent of households with children that had physically inadequate housing, crowded housing, and/or a housing cost burden of more than 30 percent of household income increased. Such conditions can pose serious problems for children’s physical, psychological and material well-being.
Similar research has yielded the same results: a different report released in March 2012 found that between 1996 and 2011, the number of households living in extreme poverty, defined as those with $2 or less per person, per day in total household income in a given month, rose by 130% during this time period, increasing from approximately 636,000 in 1996 to an estimated 1.46 million households in early 2011. The estimated 1.46 million households in extreme poverty at the start of 2011 includes 2.8 million children, or about 16% of all children living in poverty.

For more information and to see further details of the report, please click here.

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