America’s Children 2015 – Introduction


Twenty-one years ago, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) joined with six other Federal agencies to create the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Formally chartered in April 1997 through Executive Order No. 13045, the Forum’s mission is to develop priorities for collecting enhanced data on children and youth, improve the communication of information on the status of children to the policy community and the general public, and produce more complete data on children at the Federal, state, and local levels. Today the Forum, with participants from 23 Federal agencies, continues to collaborate in the collection, production, and publication of policy-relevant Federal statistics about children and their families.

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015 is a compendium of indicators depicting the condition of our Nation’s young people. The report, the 17th in an ongoing series, presents 41 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives. These indicators are drawn from our most reliable Federal statistics, are easily understood by broad audiences, are objectively based on substantial research, are balanced so that no single area of children’s lives dominates the report, are measured often to show trends over time, and are representative of large segments of the population rather than one particular group.

The report continues to present key indicators in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. As in prior years, the report incorporates data modifications that reflect the Forum’s efforts to improve its quality and breadth. In addition to updating data sources and expanding several indicators, this year’s report presents a special feature on health care quality among children in the United States. As is our practice, we periodically revise indicators, data sources, and features to maintain the relevance of the report.

Each volume of America’s Children also spotlights critical data gaps and challenges Federal statistical agencies to address them. Forum agencies meet that challenge by working to provide more comprehensive information on the condition and progress of our Nation’s children. This year, the immunization indicator has been aligned with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 standards, and the health insurance indicator was changed to the child’s health insurance coverage at the time of interview as measured in the National Health Interview Survey.

The value of the America’s Children series and the extraordinary cooperation that these reports represent reflect the Forum’s determination to help better understand the well-being of our children today and what may bring them a better future. The Forum agencies should be congratulated once again for developing such a comprehensive set of indicators and ensuring they are readily accessible in both content and format. The report is an excellent reflection of the dedication of the Forum agency staff members who assess data needs, strive to present relevant statistics in an easily understood format, and work together to produce this substantial and important publication. Nonetheless, suggestions of ways we can enhance this volume are always welcome.

No work of this magnitude and quality would be possible without the continued cooperation of the millions of Americans who provide the data that are summarized and analyzed by Federal statistical agencies. This report is, first and foremost, for you and all of the American public. We thank you for your support, and we hope the volume will continue to be useful to you.

Katherine K. Wallman
Chief Statistician
Office of Management and Budget


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The Condition of Education


This website has the key indicators of the condition of education in the United States. These indicators summarize important developments and trends using the latest statistics and are updated as data become available. A Congressionally mandated annual report on these indicators is provided to the White House and Congress each year.In addition, this website has Spotlights on issues of current policy interest. These Spotlights take a more in-depth look at the issues through text, graphics and short videos.

Source: The Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education

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Low Income Students Now the Majority of Public School Children

For the first time in recent history, a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools come from low income families. The latest data collected from the states by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), evidence that 51 percent of the students across the nation’s public schools were low income in 2013.

The pattern was spread across the nation. Half or more of the public schoolchildren in 21 states were eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches, a benefit available only to families living in poverty or near-poverty in 2013.1 In 19 other states, low income students constituted between 40 percent and 49 percent of the states’ public school enrollment. In other words, very high proportions of low income students were evident in four-fifths of the 50 states in 2013 (See Appendix 1).

This defining moment in enrollment in public education in the United States comes as a consequence of a steadily growing trend that has persisted over several decades. In 1989, less than 32 percent of the nation’s public school students were low-income. By 2000, the national rate as compiled and calculated by NCES had increased to over 38 percent. By 2006, the national rate was 42 percent and, after the Great Recession, the rate climbed in 2011 to 48 percent. NCES data shows that in 2012 the rate of low income students was barely below one-half –49.6 percent. In 2013, the rate crossed the threshold of one half so that in 2013 low income students became a new majority in the nation’s public schools.

Source: Southern Education Foundation

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The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book


The KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Using an index of 16 indicators, the 2014 report ranks states on overall child well-being and in four domains: 1 economic well-being, 2 education, 3 health, and 4 family and community. For 2014, the three highest-ranked states for child well-being were Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa; the three lowest-ranked were Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi. The report also provides national trends, comparing the latest data with mid-decade statistics. The 2014 Data Book is the 25th edition of the Casey Foundations signature publication. As such, the report also examines trends in child well-being since 1990, the year of the first report. It highlights positive policies and practices that have improved child health and development and features stories from several states on advocacy efforts that have improved outcomes for kids and families.

Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation

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Supporting Literacy in Early Care and Education Settings


“Reading aloud is the single most important thing a parent or caregiver can do to improve a child’s readiness to read and learn” (Read Aloud 15 MINUTES, 2014). It’s never too early to start! Reading to a child and exposing him/her to books should start during infancy, a time when brain development is rapid.

Early Literacy Facts

  • From birth to age 3 are critical years in the development of language skills.
  • More than 1 in 3 children arrive at kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning.
  • Research shows that reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do to help a child prepare for reading and learning.
  • The number of words a child knows upon entering kindergarten is a key predictor of his or her success.
  • Reading to yourself and/or to a child demonstrates that reading is important, pleasurable, and valued.
  • Reading aloud builds literacy skills: vocabulary, phonics, familiarity with the printed word, storytelling, and comprehension.
  • More than 15% of young children (3.1 million) are read to by family members fewer than three times a week.
  • Only 48% of young children in the U.S. are read to each day.

Source: National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education

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Child Care State Fact Sheets


Nearly 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care setting every week. On average, the children of working mothers spend 36 hours a week in such care. About one-third of these children are in multiple child care arrangements. Parents have a hard time finding child care, a harder time affording it, and too often it is of dubious quality.

Source: Child Care Aware

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State Early Childhood Profiles

NCCP’s Early Childhood Profiles were produced as part of the Improving the Odds for Young Children project. These profiles highlight states’ policy choices that promote health, education, and strong families alongside other contextual data related to the well-being of young children.

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

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Family Data: Indicator C4 Highlights Results and State Approaches, FFY 2011


As part of their Part C annual performance report, states are required to report the percent of families participating in Part C who report that early intervention services have helped the family help their children develop and learn, effectively communicate their children’s needs, and know their rights. For FFY 2011, all states used surveys to gather data for reporting on this indicator.

Source: The Early Childhood Outcomes Center

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Outcomes for Children Served Through IDEA’s Early Childhood Programs: 2011–12


In 2011-12, children with delays or disabilities who received services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) showed greater than expected developmental progress. Many children exited the program functioning within age expectations, and most made progress.

States’ Part C and Part B preschool programs report data annually on three outcomes:
1. Social relationships, which includes getting along with other children and relating well with adults
2. Use of knowledge and skills, which refers to thinking, reasoning, problem solving, and early literacy and math skills
3. Taking action to meet needs, which includes feeding, dressing, self-care, and following rules related to health and safety.

Source: The Early Childhood Outcomes Center

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Head Start Program Fact Sheet Fiscal Year 2012 – Head Start


Established in 1965, Head Start promotes school readiness for children in low-income families by offering educational, nutritional, health, social, and other services. Since its inception, Head Start has served more than 30 million children, birth to age 5, and their families. In 2012, Head Start was funded to serve nearly one million children and pregnant women in centers, family homes, and in family child care homes in urban, suburban, and rural communities throughout the nation.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

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