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Child Well-Being Index scores of family economic well-being project a decline through 2010. The scores are based on several federal economic data sources.

Source: Foundation for Child Development.

Foundation for Child Development

The recession will erode family economic, health and social gains made over the last 35 years, resulting in overall declines in child well-being, predict the authors of an annual study of more than 28 indicators of child well-being.

The Child Well-Being Index has tracked the quality of life of U.S. children since 1975. It is produced for the New York-based Foundation for Child Development by Kenneth Land, a sociology professor and director of Duke University’s Center for Population Health and Aging.

This year, a special report accompanying the index examines 2007 data in seven domains – economic well-being, health, safety, educational attainment, community connectedness, social relationships and emotional/spiritual well-being of children – and projects that data into 2010 based on trends from past recessions.

Predicted declines in those seven domains include:

• Community Connectedness: The housing crisis will force more low- and middle-income families to move or become homeless, leaving behind friends, neighbors, relatives and community supports.

• Health: Obesity is likely to spike due to parents relying more on low-cost, less nutritious food, including fast food.

• Safety: Historically, higher rates of violent crime in which youth are both victims and perpetrators have followed budget cuts for policing and juvenile crime prevention.

• Education: Fewer young children will be able to participate in underfunded pre-kindergarten programs, or will be kept home by parents who aren’t working.

Land predicts that the share of children in poverty will peak at 21 percent in 2010, comparable to that of previous economic recessions. Free, 31 pages., (212) 584-5000, ext. 227.