A report recently released from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics found that while several indicators of children’s well being have improved in recent years, there are significant areas that still need to be addressed. One of the most significant issues is the increasing numbers of children living in poverty. The study, “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being,” examined a range of indicators including family and social environment, economic circumstance, physical environment and safety.
Safety showed some of the best improvement. Via the report, “In 2010, the rate at which youth were victims of serious violent crimes was 7 crimes per 1,000 juveniles ages 12–17, down from 11 per 1,000 in 2009.” This drop was primarily seen in the violent victimization crime rates of young males, but unfortunately the rate for female youths did not see any significant change.
While great strides were made in several important areas, one key component—perhaps the most important indicator—did not see improvement: poverty. The number of children living in poverty increased steadily since the early 2000s. Poverty rates also saw a gender discrepancy similar to the violent victimization crime rates. Children living in female-headed households experienced poverty at higher rates than children living in male-headed households.
The data for this report came from the collaboration between 22 federal agencies compiling statistics on children and families in order to create a comprehensive pool of data on children in the United States. This detailed report is a vital first step to assessing exactly what issues the youth in the U.S. are facing, critical to understanding what can be done to help.
Melany Boulton is a digital communications intern at Prichard Communications, where she assists on several accounts, including Reclaiming Futures. She is a recent graduate from the University of Oregon with a degree in public relations and a minor in business administration.
Updated: August 10 2012