The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics today released annual figures on the well-being of America's children. Among the findings presented in the report is a decline in preterm births and births to teens. Less positive results - an increase in child poverty and food insecurity, and a decline in secure parental employment - are indicative of economic downturn.
The notable findings for the period 2007 to 2008 are:
- A drop in the proportion of infants born before 37 weeks, from 12.7 percent to 12.3 percent
- A drop in births to adolescents, from 22.2 per 1,000 girls ages 15-17 to 21.7 per 1,000
- A rise in the rate of children from birth to 17 years of age covered by health insurance at some time during the year, from 89 percent to 90 percent
- A rise in the proportion of related children from birth to 17 years of age living in poverty, from 18 percent to 19 percent
- A drop in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living with at least one parent employed year round full time, from 77 percent to 75 percent
- A rise in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living in food insecure homes, from 17 percent to 22 percent, the highest prevalence since monitoring began. The report defines food security as access at all times to enough food for active, healthy lives for all family members.
On an academic note, over the period 2007 to 2009 the average math and reading scores of eighth graders rose a bit, while those of fourth graders remained roughly the same.
Photo by Ernst Vikne