Demographic, social and economic changes combined with major policy developments have affected the lives of low-income children in both positive and negative ways since 1990, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 25th edition of its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book.
The good news is that there has been steady improvement in the numbers of children attending preschool and a decline in the number of school children not proficient in reading and math.
DC followed many national trends, showed that children and youth continued to experience setbacks in their economic well-being even while experiencing gains in other areas, such as health.
The DC KIDS COUNT data show a high level of poverty and need among DC’s children and youth, including:
29,000 DC children were living in poverty in 2012, about a 3 percent reduction from 2011. However, the current child poverty rate is 8 percent higher than it was in 1990.
32,000 or 31 percent of DC Children live in high poverty areas. This represents a 2 percent increase from last year, and is considerably higher than the 13 percent of children living in poor neighborhoods nationally.
In 2012, over half of DC children (55 percent) were from single-parent families. While this is a 10 percent difference from 2005, it is still substantially higher than the 35 percent of children nationally.
46,000 DC children live in households with a high housing cost burden, up 45 percent between 1990 and 2012.
“The KIDS COUNT report highlights what all of us who work as advocates for children and youth in the District know too well: that too many of our children are growing up in conditions that do not support their success in school and in life,” said HyeSook Chung, executive director of DC Action for Children. “All of us need to work smarter to ensure all of our children, youth and their families have what they need to thrive, regardless of their ZIP code.”
Noteworthy gains among DC children included:
The number of children not attending preschool decreased by 41 percent since 2005.
Reading and math proficiency have both improved by 12 percent since 2005.
Only 2 percent of DC children lack health insurance; this represents an 81 percent decrease since 1990.
The teen birth rate (births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19) decreased by 39 percent between 2005 and 2012.
These improvements mostly mirror national trends. Because of the disparities among DC neighborhoods, city-wide data do not provide a complete picture of child and youth well-being. More localized and nuanced DC KIDS COUNT data, analyzed at the neighborhood level, is available through our DC KIDS COUNT Data Tool 2.0.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book features the latest data on child well-being for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. This information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of measures of child well-being. Data Center users can create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and view real-time information on mobile devices.