Understanding America's Children

Federal Forum Releases 13th Annual Report on the Well-Being of U.S. Children and Youth

Understanding the changing needs of the nation's children and the conditions they live in can play an important role in helping the country thrive both today and in the future. To create a comprehensive picture of children's lives, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, of which the NICHD is a member, compiles data on indicators of health and well-being for children and youth and reports its findings every year.

The Forum's latest report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009, summarizes national indicators of well-being and identifies changes in these indicators over time. The data indicate that children improved on some measures of health and well-being, but declined on others. For instance, although fewer babies were born preterm than in previous years, children were also more likely to live in poverty than in previous years. You can read all of this year's findings at the Forum's Web site: https://www.childstats.gov.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics comprises 22 agencies, including NICHD, that conduct research and support or are involved in activities related to children and families. NICHD joined the Forum when it was established in 1997 to foster coordination and collaboration and to enhance and improve consistency in the collection and reporting of federal data on children and families.

The newly released report addresses 40 indicators in seven categories, including health, economic circumstances, and behavior, that encompass important aspects of children's lives. This year, the report also includes a special section on children with special health care needs, defined as those who have a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition who require health and related services beyond those usually required for children.

For more information on America's Children, visit the following resources:

Originally Posted: July 9, 2009

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