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December/January 2018Vol. 18, No. 9Key National Indicators of Child Well-Being

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, or the Forum, has produced a report that centers on 41 key indicators of important aspects of children's lives in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. The report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017, aims to improve data reporting on children and families; make data available in an easy-to-use, nontechnical format; foster discussions among stakeholders; and more.

The highlights of the 2017 report include the following:

  • Family and social environment: In 2016, 69 percent of children in the United States aged 17 and younger lived with two parents (65 percent with two married parents and 4 percent with two unmarried cohabiting parents), 23 percent lived with only their mothers, 4 percent lived with only their fathers, and 4 percent lived without a parent in the household.
  • Economic circumstances: Twenty percent of all children aged 17 and younger lived in poverty in 2015, and more children lived in families with a medium income than in families in any other income group.
  • Health care: In 2015, 4 percent of children below the age of 17 had no usual source of health care. Approximately one-third (29 percent) of uninsured children had no usual source of care, which is higher than for children with private insurance (2 percent) or public insurance (4 percent).
  • Physical environment and safety: In 2015, 39 percent of U.S. households with children experienced one or more of the following three housing problems: physically inadequate housing, crowded housing, or housing cost greater than 30 percent of the household income.
  • Behavior: From 2015 to 2016, reports of illicit drug use in the past 30 days decreased significantly for students in 8th grade (7 percent) but remained steady for students in 10th and 12th grades (16 percent and 24 percent, respectively).
  • Education: In 2015, 93 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 had completed high school with a diploma or an alternative credential such as a GED certificate.
  • Health: In 2015, parents reported a higher percentage of serious emotional or behavioral difficulties among boys than girls for children aged 4-7 (5 percent versus 2 percent), aged 8-10 (8 percent versus 5 percent), aged 11-14 (9 percent versus 6 percent), and aged 15-17 (6 percent versus 5 percent).

The report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017, is available at