Parameters for America's Children Publications, Products, and Activities

America's Children report

Selection Criteria for Regular Indicators

Regular indicators must meet the following criteria to be included in the full report:

  • 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
  • Representative of large segments of the population, rather than one particular group

Structure for Regular Indicators

Each indicator will include:

  • 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

In addition, the indicator will be supplemented by the following in the back matter:

  • Tables that present the data used on the indicator page(s)
  • Data source descriptions

Detailed Parameters for Regular Indicator Content

Introductory Paragraph

The text in the introductory paragraph should be limited to a few sentences and 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?" Citations should be used sparingly and only to cite information necessary to include to provide context for the reader.


All indicators will include one figure that highlights the key measure of the indicator. An indicator may include two (or more) figures only when it is agreed that more than one figure is required to more fully explain the key measure or its context as a measure of well-being. Data shown in figures must be included in indicator table(s).


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 figures).

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, would be 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 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.

America's Children Special Features

  • Maintains the same data requirements and same statistical rigor as key indicators of the America's Children report.
  • Allows use of data sources that may not have the periodicity of regular and routine data sets found in the America's Children report.