10:00 am EST - 12:00 pm EST

Past Event

Measuring Child Well-Being: A New Index

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

10:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

Brookings Institution
Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC

This report was presented as part of a Brookings forum on the well-being of American children, in cooperation with the Foundation for Child Development and Duke University.

The Brookings Institution, in cooperation with the Foundation for Child Development and Duke University, released a new index on the well-being of American children. Based on nearly thirty years of data from national surveys of seven “domains” of child well-being—defined by factors including mortality, poverty, and suicide rates; drug use; educational test scores; health insurance coverage; and crimes committed by children—the index contains valuable information on how children are faring now and how their status has changed in recent years.

Overall, the study found that:

  • Children’s well-being has improved five percent over the past quarter century;
  • Some domains of well-being, such as child safety and material well-being, have improved dramatically, but other domains, such as living with a single parent and child health, have declined;
  • Child obesity has skyrocketed and now poses a major threat to children’s health, one of the study’s most troubling conclusions;
  • The 1980s were a dangerous time for children, during which their well-being declined substantially, due in part in to changes in the structure of the economy and the American family.