Child Well-Being Index 2008 Report

The Foundation for Child Development

The quality of life of American children has been stalled since 2002, according to the foundation’s 2008 Child Well-Being Index (CWI), an annual comprehensive measure of how children are faring in the nation. The CWI calculates the overall status of American children for every year since 1975, showing that the quality of life over the past generation has improved by less than three percent.

In addition, the intergenerational comparisons of the well-being of teenagers in the first part of the decade, from 2003-2005, and the teenagers in the early years of the study, from 1975 to 1977, show that recent generations of teenagers are slightly more likely to live in families below the poverty line and substantially more likely to be overweight or obese. However, recent generations are at much lower risk of death from accidents, violence or disease and are much less likely to participate in risky behavior like bearing children, becoming victims of violent crime, smoking cigarettes, binge drinking or consuming illicit drugs. Free, 32 pages. (617) 964-9300,


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