NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Minority Children Share Improvements in Child Well-Being

May 7, 2004

Today, American children are doing better than ever, largely due to lower violent crime victimization and offender rates, lower teenage birth rates, and greater material wealth. According to the Foundation for Child Development (FCD) and its index of child well-being, not only has progress been made, but all ethnic groups studied are sharing in this improvement.

The FCD index of child well-being incorporates 7 national indicators: material well-being, social relationships, health, behavioral concerns, education achievement, place in community, and spiritual well-being. The index estimates the welfare of children by comparing results with those in 1975, the base year. The major results for 2003 were as follows:

  • The overall well-being of children was rated as 105 as compared to 100 in 1975.
  • After reaching their lowest point in 1992-1993, minorities have made significant gains over the last decade.
  • Black and Hispanic children have equaled or surpassed the overall well being of white children since 1997.

However, not all indices were positive. For instance, there has been a systematic decrease in the health of children over the past three decades solely due to the rise in childhood obesity. The rate of obesity has increased every year since 1975. Today, the health index for children is less than 85 percent of the base year.

In addition, the number of children of families headed by a single parent remains high, as reflected under the social relationships indicator. The trend over the last 20 years has been unfortunate. Since 1984, the social relationships indicator has fallen to less than 80 percent the level in 1975.

Source: "Index of Child Well-Being (CWI), 1975-2002, with Projections for 2003," Foundation for Child Development, March 15, 2004.


Browse more articles on Government Issues