The KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states. The 2009 report begins with an essay, “Counting What Counts: Taking Results Seriously for Vulnerable Children and Families,” which articulates the case for using data-driven policymaking to improve results for children. Acknowledging that some progress has been made, the essay nonetheless urgently calls for leaders at all levels of government to create much more robust systems of data collection and analysis to measure child and family well-being as well as policy and program effectiveness. Particularly in times of economic crisis and fiscal constraint, high-quality information is essential to ensure sound and efficacious investments for children and families in need.

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 child-being overall were New Hampshire, Minnesota and Utah; the three lowest ranked states were Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. At the national level, child well-being stagnated since 2000 after improving in the late 1990s. Due to time lags in data availability, the findings do not capture the effects of the economic downturn.

January 1, 2009

KIDS COUNT Data Book Collection

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    Why it's imperative to improve our nation's capacity for collecting and analyzing data on child and family well-being and the policies and programs that serve the most vulnerable.

  2. 2

    National trends in child well-being, comparing how children were faring in 2006/2007 to 2000.

  3. 3

    State rankings on overall child well-being and 10 individual indicators. Data are also provided for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, although neither is included in the rankings.

  4. 4

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

  1. 5

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

Key Takeaway

From 1994 to 2000, child poverty fell by a dramatic 30% but then increased by 6% between 2000 and 2007.

From 1994 to 2000, child poverty fell by a dramatic 30% but then increased by 6% between 2000 and 2007. In 2007, more than 13 million children were living in poverty nationally. Between 2000 and 2007, the percent of children living in single-parent families increased slightly. On the positive side, children made gains in the area of health and safety; the mortality rate declined for all age groups of children between 2000 and 2006. But during the same period, the percent of low-birthweight babies increased.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations