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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017

A toddler in a swing, two young children sitting outside a house, and a baby wearing sunglasses


The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics is a wonderful example of how Federal agencies can increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and accessibility of government by working across agency boundaries to collaborate and innovate. The Forum was chartered in April 1997 through Executive Order No. 13045. It has since been successfully bringing together (from throughout a very decentralized system) high quality information that the public and policymakers can easily access and understand about our Nation's children and youth. Working together, Federal agencies are able to set priorities on what information to collect, develop new methods for collecting such information, improve the communication of information on the status of children to the policy community and the general public, and produce more complete data on children at the Federal, state, and local levels.

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2017 is a compendium of indicators about our Nation's young people. The report, the 20th produced by the Forum, presents 41 key indicators on important aspects of children's lives. These indicators are drawn from our most reliable Federal statistics, are easily understood by broad audiences, are objectively based on substantial research, are balanced so that no single area of children's lives dominates the report, are measured often to show trends over time, and are representative of large segments of the population rather than one particular group.

The report continues to present key indicators in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. To assure that the information stays relevant, the Forum periodically revises indicators, data sources, and features to maintain the relevance of the report. Accordingly, updates have been made to improve the quality and breadth of this year's report, including changes to the following indicators: Child Maltreatment, Illicit Drug Use, Diet Quality, and High School Academic Coursetaking. In addition to updating data sources and expanding several indicators, this year's report presents a special feature on peer victimization among 3rd-graders in the United States.

Each volume of America's Children also spotlights critical data gaps identified by the Forum's Research and Innovation Committee and its Federal statistical agencies. For the first time, such data concerns related to understanding the condition and progress of our Nation's children have been consolidated into a stand-alone report section, rather than included at the end of each report domain.

The value of the America's Children series and the extraordinary cooperation that these reports represent reflect the Forum's determination to work together effectively to help our Nation better understand the well-being of our children today and what may bring them a better future. The Forum agencies should be congratulated once again for developing such a comprehensive set of indicators and ensuring that they are readily accessible in both content and format. The report is an excellent reflection of the dedication of the Forum agency staff members who assess data needs, strive to present relevant statistics in an easy-to-use format, and work together to produce this substantial and important publication. And of course, suggestions of ways we can enhance this volume are always welcome.

No work of this magnitude and quality would be possible without the continued cooperation of the millions of Americans who provide the data that are summarized and analyzed by Federal statistical agencies. This report is, first and foremost, for you and all of the American public. We thank you for your support and important contributions, and we hope the volume will continue to be useful to you.

Nancy Potok
Chief Statistician
U.S. Office of Management and Budget