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

Race and Ethnicity and Poverty Status

Most indicators in America's Children include data tabulated by race and ethnicity. In 1997, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued revised standards for data on race and ethnicity ( The revised standards included two changes that had a direct effect on many of the indicators in this report, particularly with respect to trend analyses. First, the number of racial categories expanded from four (White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Asian or Pacific Islander) to five (White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander). Second, respondents were given the opportunity to select multiple races. The standards continued to require data on ethnicity in two categories: Hispanic or Latino and Not Hispanic or Latino.

The data sources used in this report implemented these revised standards at different times, and some indicators have more detailed data on race and ethnicity than others. Nevertheless, wherever feasible, we use the 1997 OMB standards in this report. Detailed information on data collection methods for race and ethnicity is provided in footnotes, and additional information can be found in Appendix B, Data Source Descriptions. The Forum strives to consistently report racial and ethnic data across indicators for clarity and continuity.

Many indicators in this report also include data tabulated by family income and poverty status. All poverty calculations in this report are based on OMB's Statistical Policy Directive 14, the official poverty measurement standard for the United States. A family is considered to be living below the poverty level if its before-tax cash income is below a defined level of need, called a poverty threshold. Poverty thresholds are updated annually and vary based on family size and composition. Wherever feasible, indicators present data by poverty status, using the following categories: families with incomes less than 100 percent of the poverty threshold, families with incomes between 100 percent and 199 percent of the poverty threshold (low income), and families with incomes 200 percent or more of the poverty threshold (medium and high income). The Forum continues to work on reporting consistent data on family income and poverty status across indicators for clarity and continuity.