The America's Children report

Selection Criteria for Special Feature Indicators

Like regular indicators, Special Feature indicators must meet the following criteria to be included in the full report:

  • Easy to understand by a broad range of 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.
  • Representative of large segments of the population, rather than one particular group.

Structure for Special Feature Indicators

Each indicator will include the following:

  • An introductory paragraph describing the relevance of the indicator to the well-being of children and families in the United States.
  • One or more figures that illustrate important aspects of the data in a key measure.
  • Bulleted data highlights.

Detailed Parameters for Special Feature Indicator Content

About this Report

The About this Report section is an overall introduction to the report; it should include a descriptive rationale for the Special Feature topic and provide an explanation of the timeliness and relevance of the thematic focus.

Introductory paragraph

Whereas the introductory text for a regular indicator is limited to a few sentences, the text in the introductory paragraph of the Special Feature may exceed that limit to allow for thorough and sometimes specific contextual explanation, explanation of the Special Feature's relevance to the America's Children report, and rationale for not including the Special Feature as a new or modified report indicator. The introduction should discuss the background of the indicator measure, its significance for the well-being of children and families in the United States, a reference to the particular indicator being presented, the breakouts chosen for the figure, and answer the question, "Why should I read this?" Unlike in indicator bullets, citations can be used in the introductory text if needed to further explain contextual information.


There can be multiple Special Feature figures to address the necessary measures associated with the indicator. Three to five figures and not more than four to five pages can typically meet the spacing and text needed to fully highlight the key measure of the Special Feature indicator.


Indicator bullets should be kept relatively short so that the introductory paragraph, figure(s), and bullets can all fit on one page (two pages or more if the indicator includes more than one figure).

Indicator bullets must adhere to the following parameters:

  • Bullets should address most of the key indicator findings shown in the figure but should only discuss the key indicator shown in the figure.
  • Bullets should not introduce a new indicator.
    • Example: If an indicator measures poverty, bullets that report on extreme poverty would be introducing a different indicator.
  • All estimates referred to in the bullets must be found in the tables.
  • If the figure shows trends, only then should bullets report on trends shown for the population groups shown in the figure or, if appropriate, summarize the findings across the population groups.
  • The first bullet should refer to the most recent year of data; the next bullet(s) to the data trends over time, if trends are shown; the following bullets to any estimates or trends for subgroups shown in the figure(s); and the remaining bullets, if any, should be arranged in order of importance.
  • Although not encouraged, in addition to estimates shown in the figure, bullets can include estimates for agreed-upon demographic breakouts [age, race/ethnicity, sex, poverty, educational attainment, or geography (region or urban status)], if doing so enhances the key measure shown in the figure. Bullets covering estimates shown in the figure must be exhausted first before bullets can be added covering other demographic breakouts in the table.
    • Example: If the figure shows trends in the percentage of children with obesity by race/ethnicity the bullets would report on the most recent year of data, then on the trends over time, followed by estimates and trends for the race/ethnicity groups before other demographic breakouts included in the table, but not in the figure, are discussed.
  • Comparisons of estimates discussed in the text will be statistically significant unless noted otherwise. The agency providing the data will assure appropriate testing has been conducted.
  • Bullets cannot include citations referencing data or other sources outside the report.


Data tables must include the data highlighted in the Special Feature indicator figures and bullets. All data tables must have at least one figure and one accompanying data bullet on the indicator page to be included in the report. Tables may contain additional information that is mentioned in the bullets.