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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2019


America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2019 continues a series of annual reports to the Nation on conditions affecting children in the United States. Highlights from each section follow.

Demographic Background

  • The number of children in the United States is projected to increase from 73.4 million in 2018 to 78.2 million in 2050. (POP1)
  • In 2050, 31% of U.S. children are projected to be Hispanic (up from 26% in 2018), and 39% are projected to be White, non-Hispanic (down from 51% in 2018). (POP3)

Family and Social Environment

  • In 2018, 69% of children ages 0–17 lived with two parents (65% with two married parents and 4% with cohabiting parents), 22% lived with only their mothers, 4% lived with only their fathers, and 4% lived with no parent. (FAM1.A)
  • Between 1980 and 2017, the percentage of all births to unmarried women increased from 18% to 40%. (FAM2.A)
  • In 2016, among children ages 3–5 who were not yet enrolled in kindergarten and who had employed mothers, 54% received center-based care as their primary care arrangement. This percentage was higher than the corresponding percentages whose primary care arrangement was home-based relative care (18%), home-based nonrelative care (11%), multiple nonparental care arrangements for equal amounts of time (3%), or who only received parental care (15%). (FAM3.A)
  • In 2018, 23% of children were native born with at least one foreign-born parent, and 3% were foreign born with at least one foreign-born parent. (FAM4)
  • The adolescent birth rate among females ages 15–17 was 8 per 1,000 in 2017, a record low for the country. (FAM6)
  • In 2017, the rate of substantiated victims of child maltreatment was 9.1 per 1,000 children ages 0–17. Neglect is by far the most common form of maltreatment, with 75% of child maltreatment victims being neglected and 18% physically abused. (FAM7.A)

Economic Circumstances

  • In 2017, 17.5% of all children ages 0–17 (12.8 million) lived in poverty, not statistically different from 2016. For all children, the 2017 supplemental poverty measure (SPM) was 15.6%, 1.9 percentage points lower than the official poverty rate of 17.5%. (ECON1.A)
  • The percentage of children who had at least one parent working year-round, full time increased to 78% in 2017. (ECON2)
  • About 12.5 million children (17% of all children) lived in households that were classified as food insecure in 2017. (ECON3)

Health Care

  • The percentage of children ages 0–17 without health insurance at the time of interview decreased from 14% in 1993 to 5% in 2017. (HC1)
  • In 2017, about 4% of children ages 0–17 had no usual source of health care. Almost three in ten uninsured children (27%) had no usual source of health care. (HC2)
  • In 2017, about 70% of children ages 19–35 months received the recommended combined 7-vaccine immunization series. (HC3.A)
  • Between 1997 and 2017, the percentage of children ages 5–17 with a dental visit in the past year increased from 79% to 89%. (HC4.A)

Physical Environment and Safety

  • In 2017, about 62% of children lived in counties with measured air pollutant concentrations above the levels of one or more National Ambient Air Quality Standards at least once during the year. Ozone is the pollutant most often measured above its current pollution standard. (PHY1)
  • The percentage of children ages 4–11 with detectable blood cotinine levels—a chemical marker of recent exposure to secondhand smoke—decreased from 85% in 1988–1994 to 37% in 2013–2014. (PHY2.A)
  • In 2013–2016, the percentage of children ages 1–5 with elevated blood lead levels (at or above 5 micrograms lead per deciliter of blood) was 0.9%, compared with 8.6% in 1999–2002 and 25.6% in 1988–1994. (PHY4.A)
  • In 2017, the rate at which youth were victims of serious violent crimes was 8 crimes per 1,000 youth ages 12–17. (PHY6)
  • In 2014–2015, falls were the leading cause of injury-related emergency department visits among children ages 1–4 (51 visits per 1,000 children) and ages 5–14 (36 visits per 1,000 children). (PHY7.A)
  • In 2014–2015, being struck by or against a person or object (24 visits per 1,000 children), falls (24 visits per 1,000 children), and motor vehicle traffic-related injuries (18 visits per 1,000 children) were the leading causes of injury-related emergency department visits among adolescents ages 15–19. (PHY8.A)


  • In 2018, the percentages of students who reported smoking cigarettes daily in the past 30 days continued to be at historically low levels with 1% of 8th-, 2% of 10th-, and 4% of 12th-grade students reporting use. (BEH1)
  • Youth binge drinking rates remained unchanged among 8th graders from 2017 to 2018 and decreased among 10th graders (10% to 9%) and 12th graders (17% to 14%). (BEH2)
  • From 2017 to 2018, illicit drug use in the past 30 days was unchanged among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. In 2018, 7% of 8th-, 18% of 10th-, and 24% of 12th-grade students reported use in the past 30 days. (BEH3.A)
  • The percentage of students reporting ever having had sexual intercourse has decreased from 54% in 1991 to 40% in 2017. (BEH4.A)
  • In 2017, the serious violent crime offending rate was 9 crimes per 1,000 youth ages 12–17; there were 215,000 serious violent crimes involving youth. (BEH5.A)


  • Approximately 81% of children ages 3–5 who were not yet in kindergarten were read to 3 or more times per week by a family member in 2016. This rate was higher than the rate in 1993 (78%), although it fluctuated in the intervening years. (ED1)
  • In 2017, some 93% of young adults ages 18–24 had completed high school with a diploma or an alternative credential such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. The high school completion rate has increased since 1980, when it was 84%. (ED4)
  • In 2018, 8% of youth ages 16–19 were neither enrolled in school nor working, unchanged from the prior two years. (ED5)
  • In 2017, some 67% of high school completers enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year college in the fall immediately following their graduation from high school. (ED6)


  • Between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of infants born preterm declined from 10.4% to 9.9%. In 2017, 8.3% of infants were born with low birthweight. (HEALTH1.A)
  • Between 1999 and 2016, the infant mortality rate declined from 7 deaths per 1,000 live births to 6 deaths per 1,000 live births. (HEALTH2)
  • Among two parent households, the percentage of parents who reported that their child had serious emotional or behavioral difficulties increased from 4% in 2016 to 9% in 2017. (HEALTH3)
  • In 2017, about 13% of the population ages 12–17 had a major depressive episode (MDE) during the past year. The percentage of youth with MDE in the past year receiving treatment for depression—defined as seeing or talking to a medical doctor or other professional about the depressive episode and/or using prescription medication for depression—in the past year was 42% in 2017. (HEALTH4.A)
  • Parental report of activity limitation among children ages 5–17 increased between 1997 and 2017, from 8% to 11%. (HEALTH5)
  • From 1999–2002 through 2013–2016, the percentage of children ages 6–17 with obesity did not differ statistically, ranging from 16% to 19%. In 2013–2016, 18% of children ages 6–11 and 21% of adolescents ages 12–17 had obesity. (HEALTH7)
  • In 2017, 13% of children ages 0–17 had been diagnosed with asthma at some time in their lives and 8% of children were reported to currently have asthma. (HEALTH8)