Structure of the Report

America's Children presents a set of key national indicators that measure important aspects of children's lives and are collected regularly, reliably, and rigorously by Federal agencies. In determining this list of key national indicators, the Forum carefully examined the available data and sought input from the Federal policymaking community, foundations, academic researchers, and state and local children's service providers. These key national indicators were chosen because they meet the following criteria:

  • Easy to understand by broad audiences;
  • Objectively based on reliable data with substantial research connecting them to child well-being;
  • Balanced, so that no single area of children's lives dominates the report;
  • Measured regularly, so that they can be updated and show trends over time; and
  • Representative of large segments of the population, rather than one particular group.

America's Children is designed as an overview of the concepts and broad findings that are presented in other, more technical or more comprehensive reports produced by various Forum agencies. This report provides not only the selected indicators of child well-being but also extensive supplementary information. Appendix A, Data Source Descriptions, describes the sources and surveys used to generate the data. In addition, detailed data tables for each indicator are available on the Forum's website (