NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 9, 2004

U.S. children are less likely to live in poverty and fewer youngsters are dropping out of school than in the mid-1990s, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's "Kids Count Report."

The lives of children have improved significantly over the past decade, note researchers. From 1996 to 2001, improvements were reported nationally in eight of the 10 indicators the study uses to measure success. Among these measures:

  • The percentage of children living in poverty has declined from 21 percent to 16 percent.
  • The percentage of children living with a parent who lacks a secure year-round job has fallen from 28 percent to 25 percent.
  • The percentage of children dropping out of high school has fallen slightly to 9 percent, down from about 10 percent five years prior.

Additionally, 21 states and Washington, D.C., showed improvements in at least seven of 10 indicators of child well-being. Thirty-five sates and Washington improved in at least six of 10 indicators.

Despite the improvements, nearly one in six young adults -- 3.8 million Americans from the ages of 18 to 24 -- wasn't enrolled in school, had no job and held no degree beyond a high school diploma.

Source: Editorial, "Poverty Rate for Children Falls," Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2004; and, "15th annual Kids Count Data Book," Annie E. Casey Foundation, June 3, 2004.


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