This is the second annual (1998) synthesis of information on the status of the Nation's children, with attention to their economic security, health, behavior and social environment, and education.
Data for the key indicators were drawn primarily from national surveys and vital records. The first part of the report presents data that illustrate the changes that have occurred during the past few decades in six key demographic measures: number of children in the United States, their proportion of the population, their racial and ethnic composition, difficulty in speaking English, family structure, and births to unmarried women. These background measures provide an important context for understanding the key indicators and the child population. The second part of this report contains data on key measures of how well the Nation is doing in providing economic security; educational opportunity; and a healthy and safe environment for children to play, learn, and grow. Several indicators show an improving picture of the well-being of most children, but not all children share in this improvement. The well-being of children living below the poverty line continues to compare unfavorably to those living above the poverty line. Children living below the poverty line are more likely to suffer from poor general health, to have high levels of blood lead, and to have no usual source of health care. They are also more likely to experience housing problems and hunger, less likely to be enrolled in early childhood education, and less likely to have a parent working full-time all year. In addition to the differences in well-being by poverty status, there is also disparity in well-being for different racial and ethnic groups. Black children continue to fare less favorably than white children, and Hispanic children also fare less favorably than white non-Hispanic children on some indicators, such as high school completion. Appended detailed tables
Date Published: July 1, 1998