America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2012

July 16, 2012

The infant mortality rate, the preterm birth rate, and the adolescent birth rate all continued to decline, average mathematics scores increased for 4th and 8th grade students, the violent crime victimization rate among youth fell, as did the percentage of young children living in a home where someone smoked, according to the federal government's annual statistical report on the well-being of the nation's children and youth.

However, the percentage of children living in poverty increased, and the percentage of children with at least one parent employed full time, year-round decreased, the report said.

These and other findings are described in America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012. The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of 22 federal agencies that produce and use data on issues related to children and families. The report uses the most recently available and reliable official federal statistics to describe the family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health of America's children and youth.

"This year's report contains good news about newborns," said Alan E. Guttmacher, M.D., Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Fewer infants were born preterm and fewer died in the first year of life."

The report notes that infants born preterm or of low birth weight are at high risk of early death and long-term health and developmental problems.

"The findings in this report, drawn from many outstanding data systems across the federal spectrum, allow us to track key progress in the fight against many major public health threats, such as meningitis, for example," said Edward Sondik, Ph.D., Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. "The report shows that in the last five years there has been more than a five-fold increase in the percent of adolescents who have received the vaccination that helps prevent meningococcal disease—a serious bacterial illness and leading cause for the most dangerous form of meningitis."

The Forum alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. This year, the Forum is publishing America's Children in Brief; it will publish the more detailed report in 2013.

Click the link below for more information about findings in this years' report.





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