America's Children In Brief

Special Report - July 16, 2012

The majority of American children live with two married parents, over half of high school students have never had sex, and the adolescent birth rate has dropped to record levels, according to the latest report from the federal government on child wellbeing. The annual report, “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Wellbeing, 2012,” is compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a working group of 22 federal agencies that uses the latest federal data to compile information on children based on a number of key indicators, including family and social environment, behavior, and economic circumstances.

Among the good news in the report related to child wellbeing:

• 69 percent of all children were living with two parents in 2011—65 percent of these children lived with two married biological or adoptive parents.

• 46 percent of high school students reported ever having had sex in 2009, down from 48 percent in 2009 (and down from 54 percent in 1991, which was the first year of the survey).

• The rate of adolescent births dropped from 21.7 in 2007 to 17.3 in 2010, “and dropped more than half compared with 1991 (38.6 per 1,000).” The report notes that, “Between 2009 and 2010, the adolescent birth rate declined to record lows for all race and ethnicity groups.” As we recently reported, the teen birth rate declined 21 percent in North Carolina between 2007 and 2010.

The federal report also contains some bad news. For example, 22 percent of all children (or 16.4 million) lived in poverty in 2010. “Consistent with expectations related to the economic downturn,” the report states, “child poverty has increased annually since 2006, when the rate was 17 percent.” Additionally, births to unmarried women continue to increase nationwide, with 40.8 percent of all births occurring to unmarried women in 2011. According to the report, “The percentage of all births that were to unmarried women…more than doubled between 1980 and 2009, with the largest increases for women in their twenties.”

Related resources:
Characteristics of NC Teen Births - July 13, 2012
NC Abortions and Teen Pregnancies Drop - December 14, 2011
Teen Birth Rate Drops Lower - April 4, 2011
NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit New Low - October 19, 2010
Teen Birth Rate Moves Downward - April 13, 2010
NC Teen Pregnancy Rates Hit 3-year Low - February 4, 2010
Adolescent Sexual Health Trends Detailed - August 6, 2009
North Carolina Teen Birth Rate Increases - August 7, 2008
Recession Still Affecting Children - January 3, 2012
Report Examines Family Structure and Poverty - December 2, 2011
Belonging and Rejection Report - November 21, 2011
Report Questions Definition of Poverty - July 22, 2011
Marriage and Economic Well-Being - FNC - July 2011
America’s Greatest Child Poverty Weapon - October 4, 2010
Squeezing Families: How Expanding Government Undermines the Family - FNC - October 2010
Most Children Live With Parents - July 27, 2010
Married Fathers Deter Poverty - June 21, 2010
Why Families Matter - FNC - September 2007

Copyright © 2012. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.

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