This report examines child well-being in the 50-largest U.S. cities. It compares data across five indicators for cities, and states as well as a 50-city average. The five indicators under review are:
children living in poverty;
children living in single-parent families;
teens ages 16 to 19 who are high school dropouts;
children ages 5 to 17 with difficulty speaking English; and
children with no parents in the labor force.
Although these five measures do not capture the full range of conditions shaping children’s lives, they do represent many of the factors impacting child welfare. Moreover, these measures are consistent across geographic areas.
The Data Source
All estimates in the publication are based on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) data. The ACS is an annual, nationwide survey designed to provide communities with reliable and timely demographic, housing, social and economic data.
In 2010, the Census Bureau began compiling five-year averages with ACS data. These five-year averages, which are updated annually, allow for individuals to monitor social and economic trends in local communities in years between decennial censuses.
About the Series
This publication is part of the KIDS COUNT® Working Paper series, which elevates discussions about data gaps, results and trends related to the KIDS COUNT database.
In terms of child well-being, life is harsher and harder for kids in urban areas
Findings & Stats
Family Structure in the Motor City
Among all 50 cities analyzed for 2004, Detroit has the greatest share of kids — 70% — living in a single-parent family. By comparison: Across the state of Michigan and the nation, just 31% of kids are growing up with one parent at home.
Wide Range of Child Poverty Rates
Among the nation’s largest cities, the share of children living in poverty ranges from a low of 11% in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to a high of 48% in Detroit and Atlanta.
Kids, Parents and Paychecks
In Mesa, Arizona, nearly all — 99% — of kids live in families with a working parent. The other extreme of this statistic is in Miami, where only 73% of kids have parents who are employed.
Statements & Quotations
By 2009, pending continued Congressional funding, the ACS will have sampled 15 million addresses.
The average poverty threshold for a family of four was $19,307 in 2004.
Subscribe to our newsletter to get our data, reports and news in your inbox.