Monitoring the Well-Being of our Children – The Kids Count Data Center

In 1948 the Annie E. Casey Foundation was established to help build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States. Among their many projects and services is the annual publication of the Kids Count Data Book and the on-line system that allows you to explore a variety of demographic and health indicators to monitor child well-being. You should check it out if your work in any way involves the well-being of children or if you simply are interested in economic, demographic, and health related data.

The Kids Count Data Center allows for on-line access to state and community level data and allows for comparisons across states. For example, the percent of children without health insurance in 2009 varied from a low of 3 percent in Massachusetts to a high of 17% in both Nevada and Texas. The percent of children in poverty in 2010 was lowest in the states of New Hampshire (10 percent) and highest in Mississippi at 33 percent.

Here’s an example of a map you can generate on the Kids Count Data Center site showing the state by state distribution in the rate of children 0 to 17 years old in foster care per 1,000 population in 2009.

Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT Data Center, datacenter.kidscount.org.

Now it’s not always easy to interpret these differences because of potential variations in how individual state’s foster care programs operate. However, the Kids Count Data Center does a good job of presenting source information and definitions. It’s always desirable to do some extra research to make sure you’re not comparing apples to oranges but the Kids Count Data Center is a reliable source of data on the well-being of children and a great resource for anyone monitoring those trends.

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