Report

The KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states. The 2005 report begins with an essay, "Helping Our Most Vulnerable Families Overcome Barriers to Work and Achieve Financial Success," which explores in-depth four factors that contribute to persistent unemployment among parents: substance abuse, domestic violence, a history of incarceration, and depression. Too often, adults face more than one of these barriers simultaneously, yet programs and services -- and their funding streams -- typically address them in isolation. The essay provides research findings about how each of the barriers impacts parental employment along with examples of innovative programs across the country that help parents overcome drug abuse, domestic violence, prior incarceration and depression and to transition to the workforce. It concludes that the most successful interventions are integrated, flexible, and comprehensive in their scope.

The remainder of the report provides national and state data on 10 indicators that reflect a range of factors affecting child well-being, particularly health, adequacy of income, and educational attainment. Based on a composite index of the 10 indicators, the three highest ranked states for overall child-being were New Hampshire, Vermont and Minnesota; the three lowest ranked states were Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. The 2005 Data Book incorporates numerous improvements (including changes in some variables and data sources) in comparison to previous editions. 

January 1, 2005

KIDS COUNT Data Book Collection

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    How substance abuse, domestic violence, prior incarceration and depression can limit workforce success for low-income parents and, particularly in combination, how these barriers can lead to persistent unemployment, putting children’s development at risk.

  2. 2

    Examples of promising initiatives, drawn from around the country, that help parents deal with severe employment barriers and successfully transition to a job.

  3. 3

    National trends in child well-being, comparing how children were faring in 2002/2003 to 2000.

  4. 4

    State rankings on overall child well-being and 10 individual indicators.

  1. 5

    Data on how child well-being varies by race and ethnicity.

  2. 6

    Individual profiles with trend data for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the United States as a whole.

Key Takeaway

Nationally 18% of children lived in poor families in 2003, an increase from 2000 and ranging from a low of 8% to a high of 30%.

Substance abuse, domestic violence, prior incarceration and depression are some of the biggest obstacles to employment for low-income parents, yet programs and services tend to treat them in isolation even though they frequently co-occur.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations