Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
This annual statistical snapshot indicates several encouraging changes in the condition of American youth.
Thanks to heightened community attention and better access to contraception, says the report, birth rates among teenage girls ages 15-17 declined by 25 percent from 1991 to 1999, to the lowest rate (29 per 1,000) in 20 years. The teen death rate (70.6 per 100,000 15-to-19-year-olds) has dropped to a 20-year-low as well, led by a 50 percent drop in firearm deaths over the last five years.
Ethnic diversity continues to increase among American youth. The number of Hispanic children grew from 9 percent of the child population in 1980 to16 percent in 2000. The percentage of school-age children who speak a language other than English at home (and have difficulty speaking English) nearly doubled from 2.8 percent in 1979 to 5 percent in 1999. The percentage of children living with one parent increased from 20 percent in 1980 to 26 percent in 2000.
The poverty rate for children living with family members continued to decline, to 16 percent in 1999. This decrease in poverty is apparent for children living in female-headed families and is more pronounced for black children. The number of children living in high-income homes has doubled since 1980, and nearly one-third of them live in families with incomes four times the federal poverty level.
Results show room for improvement in health insurance (10 million U.S. children still have no health insurance), binge drinking and illicit drug use among young people. On a more positive note, the percentage of high school graduates who went on to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher increased to an all-time high of 33 percent in 2000. 141 pages. Free online. National Maternal Child Health Clearinghouse, 2070 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 450, Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 356-1964. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.childstats.gov.