AMERICA’S CHILDREN: Well-Being Report Finds Youth Achievement Contingent on Race, Economics

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Chicago BureauFrom The Chicago Bureau

Numbering 73.7 million last year, children accounted for nearly 24 percent of the nation’s population. In 2011, 22 percent lived in poverty. Concurrently, 24 percent lived with only their mothers while 4 percent lived only with their fathers. Valid child abuse reports declined to about 10 per 1,000 children in 2011.

High school students performed at higher levels of achievement than ever, capping graduation rates at 91 percent.

And although only 2 percent of 8th graders, 5 percent of 10th graders and 9 percent of 12th graders reported being regular smokers in 2012, binge drinking participants among 12th graders leapt from 22 percent from 24 in the same time frame.

“America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013” is the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics’ annual report on the health, education, economics and social environment of the nation’s children.

The report, the inaugural version of which was produced 19 years ago, includes figures demonstrating the welfare of children across 41 indicators. This year, its findings reveal the latest transmutations in the nation’s demographic and socioeconomic makeup as they apply to youth.

Key findings predict that by 2050, half of American children will identify as Hispanic, Asian or mixed-race as ethnic diversity continues to grow. Other indicators remained stagnant – the percentage of children without health insurance coverage throughout 2011 was unchanged at 9.

In this year’s report, the addition of a special feature on early behavioral development  –  the “kindergarten year” – concluded that a child’s economic and racial origins may have a lot to do with their chances of success later in life, and predictable achievement gaps will start to form almost immediately after starting school.

Although girls were recorded to score higher than boys in reading, there was negligible difference in performance among genders in math and science. Additionally, when children were evaluated along racial lines, findings revealed that Asian and white non-Hispanic kindergartners scored higher than others. Household income and achievement were found to be directly related.

From the report America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013

From the report America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013