NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Children's Well-Being Improving

July 9, 1999

The lot of children in the U.S. is improving and, in fact, they are thriving, according to a federal study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

  • The infant mortality rate fell from 10.9 deaths per thousand live births in 1983 to 7.2 deaths per thousand in 1997.
  • Children under 18 constituted 26 percent of the population in 1998 -- down from 34 percent in 1970.
  • The study concluded that, for the first time, Hispanic children outnumber black children in the U.S.
  • In 1997, rates of serious violent crime by juveniles between 12 and 17 hit 30.7 per 1,000 youths -- the lowest level since 1985 and well down from the peak of 51.9 in 1993.

Births to girls age 15 to 17 continued a downtrend from 38.7 births per 1,000 girls in 1991 to 32.1 in 197 -- although this figure is still higher than in most other industrialized countries.

The proportion of children living in high-income families has increased from 17 percent in 1980 to 25 percent in 1997; however, the proportion living in extreme poverty rose from 7 percent to 8 percent.

Source: Laura R. Vanderkam, "Report on America's Children Finds their Lot Has Improved," Washington Times, July 9, 1999.


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