America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011 continues a series of annual reports to the Nation on conditions affecting children in the United States. Three demographic background measures and 41 selected indicators describe the population of children and depict child well-being in the areas of family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. This year's report has a special feature on adoption. Highlights from each section follow.
- In 2010, there were 74.2 million children ages 0–17 in the United States, or 24 percent of the population.
- The racial and ethnic diversity of America's Children has grown dramatically in the last three decades and
will continue to grow. In 2023, fewer than half of all children are projected to be White, non-Hispanic. By 2050, 39 percent of U.S. children are projected to be Hispanic (up from 23 percent in 2010), and 38 percent are projected to be White, non-Hispanic (down from 54 percent in 2010).
Family and Social Environment
- In 2010, 66 percent of children ages 0–17 lived with two married parents, down from 67 percent in 2009 and 77 percent in 1980. In 2010, 3 percent of children lived with their own unmarried, cohabiting parents, 23 percent lived with only their mothers, 3 percent lived with only their fathers, and 4 percent lived with neither of their parents.
- Among the 3.0 million children not living with either parent in 2010, 54 percent lived with grandparents, 21 percent lived with other relatives, and 24 percent lived with nonrelatives.
- Overall, the percentage of all children living in the United States with at least one foreign-born parent rose from 15 percent in 1994 to 23 percent in 2010.
- About 6 percent of school-age children spoke a language other than English at home and lived in a linguistically isolated household in which all persons age 14 or over speak a language other than English at home and no person age 14 or over speaks English "Very well."
- There were 50.6 births for every 1,000 unmarried women ages 15–44 in 2009; 41 percent of all births were to unmarried women.
- In 2009, the adolescent birth rate was 20.1 per 1,000 adolescents ages 15–17, lower than the 2008 rate of 21.7 and the 2007 rate of 22.1 per 1,000. The rate has decreased for two consecutive years, continuing a decline briefly interrupted in 2005–2007; the longterm reduction began 1991–1992.
- Younger children are more frequently victims of child maltreatment than are older children. In 2009, there were 21 substantiated child maltreatment reports per 1,000 children under age 1, compared with 12 for children ages 1–3, 11 for children ages 4–7, 9 for children ages 8–11, 8 for children ages 12–15, and 6 for adolescents ages 16–17.
- In 2009, 21 percent of all children ages 0–17 (15.5 million) lived in poverty. This is up from the low of 16 percent in 2000 and 2001. The poverty rate for all children increased from 18 percent in 2007 to 19 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2009. This trend is consistent with expectations related to the recent economic downturn.
- The percentage of children who had at least one parent working year round, full time was 72 percent in 2009 (the lowest percentage since 1994), down from 75 percent in 2008.
- In 2009, 90 percent of children had health insurance coverage at some point during the year, a percentage not statistically different from 2008. The number of children without health insurance at any time during 2009 was 7.5 million (10 percent of all children).
- Adolescent vaccination coverage with 1 dose (or more) of the Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis) vaccine increased from 30 percent in 2007 to 56 percent in 2009, and coverage with 1 dose (or more) of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine increased from 32 percent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2009.
Physical Environment and Safety
- In 2009, 59 percent of children lived in counties in which one or more air pollutants were above allowable levels of the Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards, compared with 69 percent in 2008.
- The percentage of children served by community drinking water systems that did not meet all applicable Federal health-based standards has fluctuated between 5 and 13 percent since 1999, and was 7 percent in 2009.
- For 2005–2008, the sample of children was too small to provide a statistically reliable estimate of the percentage of children with a blood lead level greater than 10 µg/dL. About 32 percent of Black, non-Hispanic children, 16 percent of Mexican American children, and 12percent of White, non-Hispanic children had blood lead levels at or above 2.5 µg/dL in 2005–2008.
- In 2009, 45 percent of U.S. households (both owners and renters) with children had one or more of three housing problems: physically inadequate housing, crowded housing, or cost burden resulting from housing that costs more than 30 percent of household income. In comparison, 43 percent of households with children had a housing problem in 2007.
- Illicit drug use in the past 30 days increased among 8th-grade students, rising from 8 percent in 2009 to almost 10 percent in 2010.
- The average 8th-grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics score in 2009 was higher than the scores in all previous assessment years and 2 points higher than the score in 2007.
- In an average week during the 2010 school year, 9 percent of youth ages 16–19 were neither enrolled in school nor working. Black, non-Hispanic youth and Hispanic youth are more likely to be neither enrolled in school nor working than White, non-Hispanic youth.
- In 2009, 90 percent of young adults ages 18–24 had completed high school with a diploma or an alternative credential such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
- In 2009, 70 percent of high school completers enrolled immediately in a 2-year or 4-year college.
- The percentage of infants born preterm declined for the third straight year in 2009, to 12.2 percent, down from a high of 12.8 percent in 2006. The percentage of infants born with low birthweight did not change between 2008 and 2009.
- In 2007–2008, 19 percent of children ages 6–17 were obese, which was not statistically different from the percentage in 2005–2006.
- About 10 percent of children were reported to currently have asthma in 2009. This percentage includes children with active asthma symptoms and those whose asthma is well controlled. From 2001 to 2009, there was an increasing trend in the percentage of children reported to currently have asthma.
- As of 2008, approximately 2.5 percent of U.S. children had joined their families through adoption, including adoptions from foster care, private domestic adoptions, international adoptions, and stepparent adoptions.
- More children adopted from foster care were adopted at older ages than children adopted through other adoption types. Sixty-seven percent of international adoptions and 59 percent of private domestic adoptions occurred before the child was age 2, compared with only 28 percent of foster care adoptions.
- Among adopted children, there were differences in measures of well-being by adoption type. Positive social behaviors were exhibited by 83 percent of children adopted from foster care, compared with 91 percent of children adopted privately within the United States. Ninety-four percent of children adopted from foster care were continuously insured throughout the year, compared with 88 percent of children adopted privately within the United States.