This year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being continues two decades of collaboration by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of our Nation's children and what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. Data used in this report were collected before the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of the data surveys reflected in this report have adapted to address data needs related to the pandemic, these data were not available for inclusion at the time of publication.
Office of the Chief Statistician, U.S. Office of Management and Budget
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Forum) was chartered in 1997 by Executive Order No. 13045. The Forum fosters collaboration among 23 Federal agencies that produce and use statistics on children and families and seeks to improve these Federal data. Each year, the Forum publishes a report compiling measures of well-being drawn from the most reliable Federal statistics.
The Forum has identified 41 indicators that describe the well-being of children. These indicators span seven domains: Family and Social Environment, Economic Circumstances, Health Care, Physical Environment and Safety, Behavior, Education, and Health. The indicators also must meet the following criteria:
Pending data availability, the Forum updates all 41 indicators annually on its website (https://www.childstats.gov/) and alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version, America's Children in Brief, which highlights selected indicators.
This year's America's Children in Brief highlights selected indicators by metropolitan status to give the reader a closer look at how well-being is influenced by the type of community in which children and their families live. The Brief also provides a snapshot of the overall well-being of America's children through the At-a-Glance summary table displaying the most recent data for all 41 indicators.
The focus on metropolitan status is motivated by the long-standing recognition that there are substantial differences across communities and such differences may influence child well-being in diverse ways. Underlying characteristics of communities that affect child well-being reported in this Brief include the following types of factors:1–10
Discussions of the geographic classifications, race and ethnicity measures, and statistical significance analyses used in this report follow.
Classifying counties into "standard metropolitan areas" was introduced around 1950. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) develops definitions for these areas to provide a nationally consistent set of delineations for collecting, tabulating, and publishing Federal statistics for geographic areas. Although some of the definitions and terminology have changed since they were first introduced, the OMB's Standards for Delineating Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas have the same goals today as in the past.11 The general concept of a metropolitan statistical area is an area containing a large population nucleus and adjacent communities that have a high degree of integration with that nucleus. The concept of a micropolitan statistical area closely parallels that of the metropolitan statistical area but contains a smaller nucleus.
When possible, indicator data in this report are presented for three categories: metropolitan areas, micropolitan areas, and rural counties. In some cases, limited sample sizes or number of cases or issues with data reliability required that data be limited to two categories: metropolitan areas and nonmetropolitan areas comprising micropolitan areas and rural counties.
Every effort is made to include data breakouts by race and ethnicity for regular indicators in the full America's Children report and for selected indicators in this year's Brief. Unless otherwise noted, data by race and ethnicity in this report have implemented the Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (hereafter referred to as standards on race and ethnicity) issued in 1997 by the OMB (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-1997-10-30/pdf/97-28653.pdf). The 1997 standards on race and ethnicity allow for observer or proxy identification of race but clearly state a preference for self-classification. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected separately. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Data in this report are generally presented for the following six race and Hispanic origin groups: American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic; Asian, non-Hispanic; Black or African American, non-Hispanic; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic; White, non-Hispanic; and Hispanic or Latino. On the charts, shortened labels often are used because of limited space.
The 1997 standards on race and ethnicity also offer an opportunity for respondents to select more than one of the five race groups, leading to many possible multiple-race categories. These standards allow for two basic ways of defining a race group. A group such as Black may be defined as those who reported Black and no other race (the race-alone or single-race concept) or those who reported Black regardless of whether they also reported another race (the race-alone or-in-combination concept). In this report, indicators present data using the first approach (single race). Use of the single-race population does not imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data. Generally, a small percentage of people report two or more races. When possible, estimates for this group are shown separately. All groups not shown separately are included in the totals.
Most data in this report are estimates based on a sample of the population and are therefore subject to sampling error. Differences between estimates are tested for statistical significance at either the 0.05 or 0.10 cutoff level, according to agency standards; all differences discussed in the report are statistically significant according to the standards of the agency responsible for the data. Agency details about statistical reporting standards for indicators included in the America's Children report and standard error tables for select indicators are available online at https://www.childstats.gov.
The Forum's website (https://www.childstats.gov) also includes this additional information:
1 National Center for Health Statistics. (2001). Health, United States, 2001: With urban and rural chartbook. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus01.pdf
2 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2017). National healthcare quality and disparities report chartbook on rural health care (AHRQ 17(18)-0001-2-E). Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Retrieved from https://www.ahrq.gov/sites/default/files/wysiwyg/research/findings/nhqrdr/chartbooks/qdr-ruralhealthchartbook-update.pdf
3 Meit, M., Knudson, A., Gilbert, T., Yu, A., Tanenbaum, E., Ormson, E., . . . & Popat, S. (2014). The 2014 update of the rural-urban chartbook. Rural Health Reform Policy Research Center. Retrieved from https://ruralhealth.und.edu/projects/health-reform-policy-research-center/pdf/2014-rural-urban-chartbook-update.pdf
4 U.S. Census Bureau. (2016). Measuring America: Our changing landscape [Infographic]. U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2016/comm/acs-rural-urban.html
5 Parker, K., Horowitz, J., Brown, A., Fry, R., Cohn, D. & Igielnik, R. (2018). What unites and divides urban, suburban and rural communities. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2018/05/22/what-unites-and-divides-urban-.suburban-and-rural-communities/
6 Holder, K. A., Fields, A., & Lofquist, D. (2016). Rurality matters. Random Samplings, U.S. Census Bureau. 2016. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/blogs/random-samplings/2016/12/rurality_matters.html
7 Semega, J., Kollar, M., Creamer, J., & Mohanty, A. (2019). Income and poverty in the United States: 2018 (Current Population Reports P60-266). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2019/demo/p60-266.pdf
9 Strosnider, H., Kennedy, C., Monti, M., & Yip, F. (2017). Rural and urban differences in air quality, 2008–2012, and community drinking water quality, 2010–2015—United States. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 66(13), 1–10. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/ss/ss6613a1.htm
10 National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Health Care Services. (2015). Mortality and life expectancy in rural America: Connecting the health and human service safety nets to improve health outcomes over the life course. Retrieved from https://www.hrsa.gov/sites/default/files/hrsa/advisory-committees/rural/publications/2015-mortality.pdf
11 2010 Standards for Delineating Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas, 75 Fed. Reg. 37246 (proposed June 28, 2010). Retrieved from https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2010/06/28/2010-15605/2010-standards-for-delineating-metropolitan-and-micropolitan-statistical-areas
12 U.S. Office of Management and Budget. (2013). Revised delineations of metropolitan statistical areas, micropolitan statistical areas, and combined statistical areas, and guidance on uses of the delineations of these areas (OMB Bulletin No. 13-01). Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/bulletins/2013/b13-01.pdf