Growing Up Black in America Today

Posted July 21, 2015, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Let’s get right to it. The good news? 

Relative to the national average, black children in America today are more likely to:

  • Have health insurance coverage.
  • Attend preschool.
  • Live in families where the household head has a high-school diploma. 

And… that’s it. 

In fact, the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book underscores a clear — and very concerning — reality that runs far short on feel-good statistics. 

Simply put: Black children and families are struggling.    

According to the Data Book, here’s where black children face the greatest challenges among all major ethnic and racial groups:   

39% live in poverty.
32% live in high-poverty areas. 
67% live in single-parent families.
86% of 8th graders fail to score proficient in math. 
83% of 4th graders fail to score proficient in reading 
50% live in households with a high housing cost burden.
More than 30% fail to graduate high school on time. 
12.8% of babies are born at a low birthweight
33 deaths for every 1,000 children and teens 

These numbers leave little room for doubt. Even more, they represent a statistical shout to action. 

They say: We can — and must — do more to level life’s playing field and give all of our nation’s children a stronger connection to opportunity.      
 
Learn the facts. Check out the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book for an in-depth look at what it’s like to be a black child in America today.     

See a breakdown of poverty rates by race and Hispanic-origin.