urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Tracking the Well-Being of Children and Youth at the State and Local Levels Using the Federal Statistical System

Read complete document: PDF

PrintPrint this page
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Digg Share on Reddit
| Email this pageE-mail
Document date: September 01, 2001
Released online: September 01, 2001

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Copyright © September 2001. The Urban Institute. All rights reserved. Except for short quotes, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from The Urban Institute.

This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF), which many find convenient when printing.

About the Series

Assessing the New Federalism is a multiyear Urban Institute project designed to analyze the devolution of responsibility for social programs from the federal government to the states, focusing primarily on health care, income security, employment and training programs, and social services. Researchers monitor program changes and fiscal developments. In collaboration with Child Trends, the project studies changes in family well-being. The project aims to provide timely, nonpartisan information to inform public debate and to help state and local decisionmakers carry out their new responsibilities more effectively.

Key components of the project include a household survey, studies of policies in 13 states, and a database with information on all states and the District of Columbia, available at the Urban Institute’s Web site (http://www.urban.org). This paper is one in a series of occasional papers analyzing information from these and other sources.


Executive Summary


Data Resources

     Economics and Demographics
          Decennial Census
          American Community Survey (ACS)
          Census 2000 Supplementary Survey (C2SS)
          Child Population Estimates and Projections, and Child Poverty Estimates
          State-Level Estimates from the Current Population Survey (CPS)
          The American Housing Survey


     Vital Statistics
     Disease Surveillance Systems
     Health Surveys
          Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)
          Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS)
          Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)
          National Immunization Survey (NIS)
          State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS) of Children with Special Health Care Needs
          National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA)
          National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)


     National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
     Common Core of Data (CCD)
     Enrollment and High School Graduation Projections
     Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS)

Crime and Juvenile Justice

     Easy Access System
          FBI Arrest Statistics
          State and County Juvenile Court Case Counts
          Juvenile Court Statistics
          FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports
     Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook
     OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book and the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

Child Welfare

     National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS)
     Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)

Selected Nonfederal Data Sources

     National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) and the ANF State Database
     Kids Count
     Catalog of Administrative Data Sources

Appendix: Summary Listing of Federal Web Sites Containing Indicator Data on Children and Youth


About the Author

Executive Summary

Over the last decade, there has been an explosion in the collection of child and youth indicator data at the state and local levels by federal statistical agencies, and in the dissemination of those data through agency Web sites. This paper provides readers with a coherent overview of these resources for state and local estimates and the information needed to access those data easily.

Data sources are presented in five topical areas: economics and demographics; health; education; crime and juvenile justice; and child welfare. Each section begins with an overview of what is available, including descriptions of data portholes that agencies have developed to facilitate access to data, and descriptions of individual data resources, including surveys, administrative data sets, and publications available on agency Web sites. Internet addresses to these resources are provided throughout the text and are also merged into a single table in the appendix. Selected nonfederal sources are also briefly covered.


The federal government has long collected social indicator data used to track the well-being of children and youth at the state1 and local levels. This practice began with the first decennial census in 1790 and was carried further by the development of the national vital statistics reporting system in the early 1900s. Over the last decade, however, there has been a relative explosion of such data collection in the areas of health, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, economic security, and demographics—with more planned for the coming decade. These data are being developed in large part to inform federal, state, and local policies affecting children and youth. Such developments reflect the increased emphasis given to state and local decisionmaking in the past few years, as well as an increased technological capacity to collect and analyze such data at reasonable cost.

At the same time, there is a budding revolution to increase access to these data, thanks to the Internet. Publications and databases containing state and local estimates are increasingly available free of charge at the Web sites of major federal statistical agencies.2 Furthermore, some individual agencies have begun to create one-stop shops for their own data, enabling users to search across multiple data sources.

Although there have been some notable efforts across federal statistical agencies to coordinate the dissemination of child and youth indicator data at the national level,3 these efforts have not generally been extended to state and local estimates.4 The purpose of this paper is to provide readers with a coherent overview of state- and local-level estimates of child and youth well-being that are currently available to the public through federal Internet sources, and to give readers the means to access those data easily.

Data sources are presented in five broad topical areas: economics and demographics; health; education; crime and juvenile justice; and child welfare. Each section begins with an overview of what is available, including descriptions of data portholes that federal agencies have recently developed to facilitate access to indicators within broad topic areas. This overview is followed by a description of individual data resources (e.g., surveys, administrative data sets, publications) including the areas of well-being covered, the level of geography at which estimates are available (e.g., state, county, school district), and publications and Web site addresses where the estimates can be accessed. The Internet addresses to these resources are given throughout the text and are merged into a single table in the appendix. Selected nonfederal sources are also briefly discussed at the end of the paper.

Data Resources

Economics and Demographics

The Bureau of the Census produces a wide variety of demographic and socioeconomic estimates that support state and local planning around child, youth, and family issues. The best-known federal source is the decennial census, providing geographically detailed estimates (down to the block level) on a wide variety of demographic, economic, and housing characteristics every 10 years. The need for such data on an even more regular basis has led to the development of the American Community Survey, which will—assuming continued funding—begin providing state and local estimates similar to the decennial census beginning in 2004.

The Bureau also generates annual estimates of the child population down to the county level, as well as future population projections down to the state level. Such estimates are widely used for planning purposes by government agencies and private organizations alike. These are available separately by age group and race and ethnic group. In addition, state and county estimates of child poverty are produced every two years.

The Census Bureau has developed a general data access tool called the American FactFinder, which allows users easy access to estimates from the decennial census (1990 and 2000) and the American Community Survey. This includes the detailed census tables traditionally produced by the bureau and, in the future, will include custom tables specified by the user. In addition, tables can be generated to compare data across geographic areas. The American FactFinder can be accessed at http://factfinder.census.gov.

Decennial Census

For more than 200 years, the United States has collected essential information on all its citizens each decade through the decennial census. The census is uniquely valuable because it provides detailed and consistent population characteristics for the nation as a whole, while providing data for geographic areas as small as a city block. This makes census data vital for local planning and useful for a wide variety of political, policy, and commercial purposes at all geographic levels.

The decennial census collects basic demographic information5 on household members (including children), including age, sex, race, ethnicity, country of birth, citizenship, disability, enrollment in school and years of schooling completed, language besides English spoken in the home, and English language proficiency. For youth ages 15 and older, some employment information is also collected. Teen mothers who are living with their child(ren) can also be identified. Most of the information on children and youth, however, refers to the characteristics of their family and household. Detailed information on family and household structure includes number of persons, presence of parents and other adult relatives, and parental marital status. Socioeconomic data include income (by source), poverty status, and welfare receipt; parental employment, occupation, and education level; whether the family owns or rents; the monetary value of the residence; presence of a telephone; and the number of cars. Detailed characteristics of the residence are also collected, such as the number of rooms, and the type and age of the building.

These data can be used to generate a broad set of indicators on children and youth and their family environment. Separate estimates can also be generated for children from particular population subgroups (e.g., those under age 5, poor children, or Native-American children). The Census Bureau produces hundreds of descriptive tables on children and families containing children that it makes available down to the census tract level (usually between 2,500 and 8,000 persons), with a more limited set of estimates available down to the block group. Some basic demographic and housing characteristics will be available down to the census tract level beginning in the summer of 2001 through the bureau’s SF (Summary File) 1 and SF 2 data files. A broader set of measures, including many of those listed above, are scheduled to be available beginning in December 2001 and into the following summer and fall through the SF 3 and SF 4 files and the Demographic Profile. These will be available on CD-ROMs and online at the Census Bureau’s Web site at http://www.census.gov. Hard-copy publications will also be available for some estimates, though they will be less available than for previous censuses. Estimates will also be available through the American FactFinder, described above. For an updated listing of Census 2000 data products and expected release dates, see http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/products.html.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has contracted with the Population Reference Bureau, a private, nonprofit research firm, to produce special child-oriented estimates for states, counties, congressional districts, and selected cities using 2000 decennial census data as the Census Bureau releases it. These estimates became avail-able in the Kids Count section of the Foundation’s Web site beginning in April 2001 (http://www.aecf.org/kidscount).

An important data issue that users should be aware of is the change in the way race information was collected in the 2000 decennial census (and will be collected in all federal surveys within the next several years). For the first time, respondents were able to identify themselves with more than one race. This has generated much richer data on racial affiliation, with the Census Bureau producing estimates for 63 race categories. However, this change has made it impossible to compare 2000 estimates with race-specific data for 1990 and earlier censuses.

American Community Survey (ACS)

The ACS was developed by the Census Bureau to address the major weakness of the decennial census: it is only collected once every 10 years. Decennial census estimates are quickly out of date for many purposes and, unfortunately, there are no adequate alternatives for estimates at the state and local levels. The American Community Survey promises to change this, providing virtually the same estimates on an annual basis for states and communities with populations of 65,000 or more, and three- and five-year rolling average estimates at the census tract level, updated yearly.

The ACS contains virtually all of the same questions as the full 2000 census long form, and features some additional questions dealing with receipt of food stamps, subsidized school lunch, federal home heating and cooling assistance, and housing subsidies. The ACS will become fully operational in 2003 if congressional funding is approved; it will survey 3 million addresses (housing units and group quarters) each year. The survey will be fielded on a continuous basis, and is intended to replace the census long form for the 2010 census. It has already been tested in 31 sites. The first estimates from the full survey are scheduled to become available in the middle of 2004, with tract-level estimates available beginning in 2008. ACS data will be accessible through the American FactFinder (http://factfinder.census.gov). For more information on the ACS, visit http://www.census.gov/acs/www.

Census 2000 Supplementary Survey (C2SS)

The C2SS is a special one-time survey that was conducted specifically to compare estimates from the decennial census with those that will be generated by the ACS. The C2SS will not generate estimates for small areas; estimates for states should be available from the Census Bureau as early as August 2001, at least a year earlier than similar estimates from the 2000 census, but for a much smaller sample size.6 Estimates at the metropolitan and city level are scheduled to be released later in the year. Data will be available through American FactFinder (http://factfinder.census.gov) and on CD-ROM.

Child Population Estimates and Projections, and Child Poverty Estimates

Between censuses, many data users need annually updated estimates of the number of persons in state and local areas. For many years, the bureau has generated annual estimates at the state and county levels. These are useful in their own right and, perhaps more important, they provide users with the population data necessary to generate rates when combined with other data. For example, these estimates can be used in conjunction with birth certificate data to estimate the percentage of all teen females who had a birth in a given year.

Population estimates are available at the state and county levels for single years of age for both males and females. At the state level, single-year-of-age estimates are also available for separate race groups and for Hispanics, again separately for males and females. For example, there are estimates for the number of 5-year-old black non-Hispanic females in the state of California. County-level estimates are also available for such groups, though only in five-year age groupings (e.g., the number of 0-through 4-year-old black non-Hispanic females in Sacramento County, California). These estimates are currently available for the years 1990 through 1999, are updated annually, and can be found on the Census Bureau Web site at http://www.census.gov/population/www/estimates/popest.html.

Population projections, which attempt to estimate future population size, are available for 2000 through 2025. Such projections can be very important for long-term planning. Only national and state-level projections are available from the Census Bureau. Projections are available for single year of age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin (e.g., the number of 5-year-old female white non-Hispanic children in Arkansas). Projections for individual states can be downloaded at http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/popproj.html. These projections are expected to be updated sometime in 2002.

Child poverty estimates are being generated annually as part of the Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) program (http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/saipe.html). These estimates encompass all states and counties, including the total number of poor people under age 18 and the number of "related children" ages 5 to 17 living in poor families.7 Poverty estimates are available for related children ages 5 to 17 for all school districts as well. At present, there are state-level estimates for 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996, and 1997; county-level estimates for 1989, 1993, 1995, and 1997; and school district estimates for 1995 and 1997. In the future, state estimates are to be produced every year, and county and school district estimates in odd-numbered years. These estimates have a three-year time lag due to the data requirements of the statistical model used to generate them.

The poverty estimates are useful for many purposes, but one must keep in mind that they are often not very precise, especially for more sparsely populated areas. For example, while the 1997 poverty rate for those under age 18 in Starr County, Texas, was estimated at 56.4 percent, the actual rate, based on a 90 percent confidence interval, is probably somewhere between 43.4 and 69.4 percent.8 Estimates at the state level are considerably more precise (within a few percentage points).

State-Level Estimates from the Current Population Survey (CPS)

The CPS is a large, nationally representative survey that can be used to generate state-level estimates. A core set of questions focusing on labor force and employment issues are fielded every month. In most months, there are special supplementary questions focusing on a particular topic area. These topical supplements are fielded every year or every other year. Of particular relevance to those interested in children and youth are the March Income and Demographic Supplement, the April Child Support and Alimony Supplement, and the October School Enrollment Supplement.

Two federal agencies produce limited state-level estimates from the CPS on specific topics relevant to children. The Census Bureau publishes estimates of child health insurance coverage and the percentage of children in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (http://www.census.gov/hhes/hlthins/lowinckid.html). Overall state poverty rates are also produced by the bureau on a regular basis, but not for children. The National Center for Education Statistics produces state estimates of high school graduation rates among 18- to 24-year-olds based on data from the October CPS, which is regularly published in its report Dropout Rates in the United States (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2001/dropout).

A number of nonprofit organizations outside of the government use CPS data to produce state-level estimates of child well-being. The best known is the Kids Count project within the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which uses CPS data to produce estimates of child poverty, parental employment, single parenthood, and teen high school dropout and idleness rates for its annual Kids Count Data Book (http://www.aecf.org/kidscount). The National Center for Children in Poverty publishes a regular report on child poverty among children under age six, which includes state estimates (http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/cprb2txt.html). The Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project at the Urban Institute has also produced state estimates, including poverty rates for children in different races and family types, measures of parental employment, family structure, and family income levels. These appear in the project’s state database, which contains state-level estimates from a wide variety of federal data sources, including the CPS.

State estimates are commonly produced by combining three to five years’ worth of CPS data to ensure adequate sample sizes for the smaller states. Even this, however, can result in estimates with standard errors that are very large for some purposes. For example, the Census Bureau estimates that 33.4 percent of low-income children in the state of Delaware lacked health insurance in 1994. With a standard error of 3.5, however, the true percentage is probably somewhere between 29.9 and 36.9 percent.

The sample size for each month of the CPS has recently been enlarged, particularly in states with smaller populations, resulting in more accurate estimates for those states. In addition, the sample included in the March supplement has been enlarged further, by a total of up to 60 percent. This was done specifically to improve state estimates of child health insurance coverage, but will enhance the precision of all state estimates generated from the March CPS data.

The American Housing Survey

This survey provides data on housing characteristics for the nation and for 46 metropolitan areas. National data are collected every two years. Data for each of the 46 metropolitan areas are collected every four years, with about 12 areas surveyed each year. Publications are available separately for each of the metropolitan areas. They include a modest amount of information on housing characteristics for households containing children. For more information, or to download publications for individual metropolitan areas, visit http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/ahs.html.


The array of data resources developed by federal agencies to track state and local out-comes for child health is truly impressive. The vital statistics system, with the data collected through birth and death certificates, stands with the decennial census as the other great federal pillar of community-level data on children, youth, and their families. In addition, disease surveillance systems and a variety of regularly fielded surveys yield estimates for states and some major metropolitan areas on such topics as risk- and health-related behaviors among youth, drug use, maternal and infant health, early immunization, and selected diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Equally impressive are the efforts made to make data from these sources available to national, state, and local health officials and other interested persons or organizations through a variety of publications, CD-ROMs, and online data access tools. CDC Wonder, for example, is a "one-stop shopping" data access tool for many of the databases supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which oversees most federal health data collection. These databases include several data sets derived from birth and death certificate data and several disease surveillance systems. CDC Wonder includes the Healthy People 2010 Database, which provides national and, when available, state-level baseline estimates for 2010 health objectives, including many objectives for infants, children, and youth.9 Many of the data sets available through CDC Wonder will provide state-specific and even county-level estimates, though confidentiality restrictions limit data for less-populated counties. To visit CDC Wonder, go to http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/cdcwond/cdcwond.htm. For more information on the variety of health data available through the CDC, visit http://www.cdc.gov/scientific.htm and http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss.htm.

For those interested in county-level health data, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recently released a Community Health Status Report for every county in the country. These reports include health indicators for all ages, but data relevant for children and youth include leading cause of death by age, low birth weight, premature births, teen and nonmarital motherhood, prenatal care, infant mortality, and air quality. The reports are the result of collaboration among the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), and the Public Health Foundation. County reports can be downloaded at http://www.communityhealth.hrsa.gov.

Vital Statistics

The data collected on birth and death certificates10 have long been used to guide health policy at all levels of government, and also inform policy in the areas of justice, child welfare, and school readiness. Federal law mandates the national collection and publication of these data. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which oversees the system, works in partnership with the states to develop consistent and high-quality data collection procedures, sharing the costs of maintaining and developing the system. The states collect and maintain their own data, and estimates are often available from state sources well in advance of federal publications.

Birth certificates include data on the newborn, the parents, and prenatal care received. Data on the newborn include height, weight, sex, race and Hispanic origin, gestational period, and several measures of health including the APGAR (a rating of the physical condition of an infant shortly after birth) and observable conditions, such as fetal alcohol syndrome, meconium aspiration, birth defects, and birth injury. Data on the mother include age, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, educational attainment, number of previous births, history of smoking or drinking during the pregnancy, date when prenatal care began, and regularity of that care. Limited data on fathers are also collected. From these data, many familiar social indicators are produced, including the teen birth rate, the nonmarital birth rate, the percentage of mothers receiving late or no prenatal care, the percentage of newborns with low birth weight, and the percentage of women who smoke or drink during pregnancy. The birth data homepage is located at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm.

Death certificate data include information on the age, sex, race and Hispanic origin of the decedent; and information on the cause or causes of death, including the disease and/or injury responsible. Homicides and suicides are identified, as are deaths from firearms and automobile crashes. Cause of death is recorded using standardized International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes.

Child and youth indicators commonly produced from death certificate data include infant, child, and adolescent death rates; death rates due to homicide, suicide, and motor vehicle crashes; and death rates for major diseases. For more information, see the mortality data homepage at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/dvs/mortdata.htm.

NCHS makes these birth and death data available through regular publications, through databases available online, and on CD-ROM.11 State-level estimates of early prenatal care, low birth weight, cigarette smoking by pregnant mothers, and infant and neonatal mortality are all available in one of the center’s annual flagship publications, Health United States: 2000 (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hus/hus.htm). State Health Profiles, produced for each state, contain state estimates of birth defects, teen birth rates, prenatal care, and early vaccination coverage, in addition to many health indicators for the population as a whole (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/stprofiles.htm). Some state-, city-, and county-level estimates of birth and death relevant for children and youth are published as part of NCHS’s annual Vital Statistics of the United States (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/vsus/vsus.htm). In addition to these regular reports, state estimates are also produced on an occasional basis and included in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) series (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/).

A much broader set of state and county estimates can be accessed through several online data query systems that are available through the CDC Wonder data system, described above (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/cdcwond/cdcwond.htm). These include general natality and mortality systems, as well as specialized systems related to injuries and other leading causes of death. The natality and mortality data sets will provide estimates for places and counties with populations in excess of 100,000.

Finally, custom analyses that cannot be accomplished with public versions of the data sets due to confidentiality restrictions may be produced for a fee through the NCHS Research Data Center (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/r&d/rdc.htm).

These data resources have several significant limitations. First, the data are often not available for two years after they are collected, introducing a significant time lag. This is necessary in order to receive final data from all of the states.12 It is usually possible to get some estimates from state and local vital statistics offices the year after they are collected, and in some states in as little as six months. The timeliness and accessibility of vital statistics data from these agencies can vary significantly from state to state, however. Second, estimates for places in which the population is below 100,000 are not generally published by NCHS. Some state and local agencies, on the other hand, can provide estimates below the county level, which is helpful for local planning. The Web sites for state and selected local health departments can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/other.htm.

Disease Surveillance Systems

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains surveillance systems for many infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and STDs. The HIV/AIDS reports annually provide the number of reported HIV and AIDs cases for individuals ages 0 to 12 and ages 13 and older in states and major metropolitan areas (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/stats/hasrlink.htm). The tuberculosis reports include the number of cases of tuberculosis for states and major metropolitan areas by age group, including children and youth (ages 0 to 4, 5 to 14, and 15 to 24) (http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/tb/surv/surv.htm). The reports on sexually transmitted diseases do not include separate estimates for children and adolescents, but state-level estimates for youth on selected STDs have been produced in the past by CDC staff on special request.

Health Surveys

The CDC has developed a number of surveys to help states monitor the health of children, youth, and families. These include surveys to monitor youth risk behaviors, youth tobacco use, child immunization, birth outcomes, and the well-being of special needs children. In addition, they have redesigned and expanded the sample sizes of two existing national health surveys in order to support the production of state-level estimates of health and drug use. Each is reviewed below.

Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). The YRBS is a self-administered survey of 9th- through 12th-grade students that monitors behaviors in six health areas: violence and unintentional injuries; sexual behavior; physical activity; nutrition; tobacco use; and use of alcohol and other drugs. The survey is fielded every other year. In 1999, 42 states and 16 metropolitan areas participated.13 A national survey is also fielded. The YRBS was also given in 1990–1991, 1993, 1995, and 1997, though thelist of participating states has changed somewhat over that period. The CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH/CDC) provides substantial support to participating states and metropolitan areas, including monetary and technical assistance to field and analyze the data. Most, but not all, of the surveys have been certified as representative, meaning that they accurately reflect the behaviors of high school students throughout the state or metropolitan area in question. Unfortunately, they do not include data for youth who have left school.

Summary results of the surveys are published in the CDC’s MMWR report series. In addition, detailed tables are available on CD-ROM for those who would like to produce their own analyses (http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dash/yrbs). Moreover, many of the participating states publish their own reports. For contact information for the individual states or for other questions regarding the YRBS, contact HealthyYouth@cdc.gov.

Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS). The YTS is a survey of middle school and high school students to monitor trends in seven topic areas: tobacco use, tobacco-related knowledge and attitudes, the role of the media in affecting young people’s use of tobacco, access to tobacco, school curriculum, environmental exposure to tobacco smoke, and smoking cessation.14 The survey was conducted in 3 states in 1998, 13 in 1999, and 26 states in 2000. In 1999, 13 states conducted middle school surveys, and 10 conducted high school surveys. A national survey is also conducted. Some states will conduct the YTS annually, while others will conduct it every other year. The national survey will be conducted every other year.

The data are intended to help states in designing, implementing, and evaluating state tobacco-control programs. The report on the 1998 and 1999 data can be downloaded at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss4910a1.htm. For more information on the survey, including a listing of individual state reports produced by state health departments, visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/youth.htm.

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). The PRAMS survey is designed to provide states with the data they need to improve health outcomes for newborns, infants, and their mothers—data not available from other sources. The surveys provide state-level, population-based estimates in the following areas: maternal attitudes about the most recent pregnancy, content and source of prenatal care, alcohol and tobacco use, physical abuse of the mother before and during pregnancy, illness and other health problems during pregnancy, infant health care following the birth (e.g., number of well-baby visits), infant sleep position, and breastfeeding. In addition, states develop and add questions of their own.

Twenty-two states and New York City currently participate in the PRAMS survey.15 Surveys are done annually. For a list of publications, see http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/drh/pramstates.htm.

National Immunization Survey (NIS). This is a continuously fielded survey that provides quarterly estimates of immunization coverage levels, by type of vaccine, for children ages 19 to 35 months in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 27 urban areas identified as having child populations at high risk for undervaccination.16 Parents are asked in telephone interviews to refer to written immunization records, and there are follow-up interviews with the child’s health care provider. The survey was established in 1994 to measure state and local progress towards national immunization goals.

The survey gathers information on coverage for the following vaccines: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP), poliovirus, measles (MCV), haemophilus influenzae (Hib), hepatitis B, and varicella. Reports issued by the CDC include estimates of the percentage of 19- to 35-month-olds covered by each type of vaccine and the proportion fully covered by all the vaccines. Data for the nation, the states, and select urban areas are reported on a regular basis in the MMWR, which can be downloaded at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr.17 For more information on the NIS, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nis.

State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS) of Children with Special Health Care Needs. The primary purpose of this survey is to collect information on children with special health care needs, including the proportion of children with such needs, the types of services they use, and shortcomings in their system of care. In addition, the survey will generate estimates of health insurance coverage for all children as well as special needs children. For this survey, children with special health care needs are being defined as "children who have chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, and emotional conditions and who also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally." Estimates will be produced for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey went into the field in the fall of 2000, and data are expected to be available to the public beginning in the late spring of 2002. There is interest in fielding this survey every four years, though at present funding is available only to support the current round.

For additional information on this survey, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nis. Results will be published by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau as they become available (http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov/).

National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA). The NHSDA is a national household survey of drug use that is now carried out on an annual basis by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The sample was recently enlarged to support state-level estimates of substance abuse. These state estimates are produced with the aid of a statistical regression model, though estimates for the eight most populous states (with correspondingly larger sample sizes) are also produced without the aid of the model. The first set of state estimates was recently published in the 1999 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse report. They include separate estimates for ages 12 to 17, 18 to 25, and 26 and older for the following measures: illicit drug use (including separate estimates for marijuana use), alcohol use, and cigarette use; and past dependency on illicit drugs or alcohol. Additional state-level estimates will appear in future reports and new estimates will be produced annually.

For more details, including the most recent state estimates, visit http://www.drugabusestatistics.samhsa.gov/.

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The NHIS is the major national survey for monitoring trends in illness, disability, and health service receipt for the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States. This cross-sectional survey is taken each year, and includes some 43,000 households (http://www.cdc.gov/ nchs/nhis.htm).

In 1995, the survey sampling frame was altered to allow for the possibility of producing state-level estimates, although sample sizes are still too small to support stable estimates for many states. The survey can be used to produce state-level estimates for the more populous states, especially if several years of data are combined, as is sometimes done when analyzing the Current Population Surveys (see above). State estimates have not been published by NCHS, though they can be produced for a fee under special arrangement with the NCHS Research Data Center at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/r&d/rdc.htm.


Within the U.S. Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) oversees the collection and dissemination of data related to the education and academic achievement of the population. Much of the data collected focus on children in primary and secondary schools. Data providing regular state-level estimates include academic assessments of students in the 4th and 8th grades from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), detailed characteristics of public and private schools from the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), and estimates of high school completion generated from the October Current Population Survey (see above).

School district–level estimates are also produced by NCES. These include indicators based on public school administrative data for primary and secondary schools through the Common Core of Data (CCD), and projections of public school enrollment and high school graduation numbers. Both are produced annually.

The department produces several reports that provide state-level education data, drawing on multiple data sources. State Profiles of Public Elementary and Secondary Education 1996–97 includes student demographic characteristics, academic achievement data, and dropout estimates, as well as information on staff, salaries, teacher preparation, financial information, and so on. The report is located at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2000304. State Comparisons of Education Statistics 1969–70 to 1996–97 contains similar types of information and can be downloaded at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=98018. A third report, Education in States and Nations: Indicators Comparing U.S. States with Other Industrialized Countries in 1991, provides international comparisons with U.S. states. This report, which will be updated and released in late 2001, can be downloaded at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=96160.

The department also produces an annual report called the Digest of Education Statistics, which presents selected data at the national, state, and school district level from many sources, including those described above. This and other relevant data sources are available on the Internet at http://nces.ed.gov/edstats. Additional state and local estimates are available at other locations within the NCES Web site, through other publications, and on CD-ROM, and are reviewed below.

NCES also offers custom analyses of many of its data sets through the National Education Data Resource Center (NEDRC) (http://nces.ed.gov/partners/ nedrc.html). NEDRC currently offers analyses for over 15 databases, including the Common Core of Data (CCD), the Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), all of which are reviewed below.

Finally, the National Education Goals Panel, a bipartisan, multilevel government effort to improve academic achievement throughout the United States, regularly reports on state progress in meeting national education goals through its annual National Education Goals Report. This report provides state-level estimates on 34 indicators related to the eight national education goals. To download the most recent report, go to http://www.negp.gov/index.htm.

National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

The NAEP assesses the capabilities of American students across a variety of academic disciplines, including mathematics, reading, writing, science, history, geography, and art. National assessments have been conducted since 1969. Since 1990, state-level assessments have also been done on a voluntary basis for students in the 4th and 8th grades.18 In 2000, for example, 43 states participated in the state assessments, which are performed in the areas of mathematics, reading, writing, and science. These are done on a staggered schedule about every four years.19 Since 1994, the state assessments have included students in both public and private schools.

Assessment scores are reported both as average scores and as the percentage of students who have passed predetermined proficiency levels (below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced). This information is also reported separately for major population subgroupings (e.g., race and Hispanic origin, sex, parent’s education, public or private school). In addition to the basic assessment data, information is also reported on such performance-relevant outcomes as average hours of homework, time spent watching television, presence of reading materials in the home, whether friends make fun of students who try to do well, and whether there are friends to talk to if help with school is needed. Many of these additional measures are accessible primarily through the online Summary Data Tables option described below.

Data from the state assessments are published on a regular basis by the National Center for Education Statistics. PDF files of the most recent state reports for math, reading, writing, and science can be downloaded at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/sitemap.asp. Many additional state estimates are available online through the Summary Data Tables utility. This utility allows the users access to the full survey, including all of the measures listed above, as well as teacher and school characteristics reflecting the social context and institutional resources in which the children learn. This information can be accessed at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/tables/.

Common Core of Data (CCD)

The CCD collects data annually from all public and elementary schools, and all local and state education agencies in the United States. This body of information includes student and staff data, fiscal data, and descriptive information about schools and school districts. The information collected on students is somewhat limited, but includes number of students by grade level, dropout rate, and number of high school graduates. These estimates are available by race, Hispanic origin, and sex.

A major strength of the CCD where child and youth indicators are concerned is its capacity to generate indicators of the school environment at the state and school district levels. This would include such common measures as the student-teacher ratio, expenditures per pupil, average school size, and teachers as a percentage of all school staff.

Selected state-level estimates from the CCD appear in major NCES publications, such as the Digest of Education Statistics. In addition, the CCD database, including detailed data for individual school districts, is available on CD-ROM and can be ordered at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/getpubcats.asp?sid=001. Data files can also be downloaded from the Internet at http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/ccddata.html. Finally, NCES intends to produce a database that combines data on children and their families from the 2000 census with school district data from the CCD database, allowing analysts to develop indicators relating the characteristics of school systems to detailed sociodemographic characteristics of children who live in those school districts.20 For information on a special combined dataset of CCD and 2000 census data, visit http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/SurveyGroups.asp?Group=01.

NCES has worked with states to improve the quality of the data collected through the CCD and to get more comparability across states. For example, the number of states reporting a standardized event dropout estimate has increased from 14 in 1991–1992 to 37 states and the District of Columbia by 1997–1998. Even so, definitions of some measures continue to differ across states, and the quality of the data reported can vary significantly across school districts and across states. These state event dropout estimates are reported in the NCES report series Dropout Rates in the United States (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2001/dropout/).

For more information on the CCD, visit http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/.

Enrollment and High School Graduation Projections

Each year the U.S. Department of Education prepares projections of public school enrollment, graduation, staffing, and expenditures. The most recent edition (as of December 2000) provides annual projections through 2010. These include state-level estimates of the number of public school students in kindergarten through 8th grade and 9th through 12th grade, and the number of high school graduates. These estimates can be accessed at http://nces.ed.gov/edstats.

Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS)

The SASS is a survey of the nation’s public and private schools at the primary and secondary levels. It includes data gathered from teachers and principals, and at the school district level. Though some data are collected about student characteristics, no students are interviewed. Its primary value lies in the unique indicators of the school environment that it contains.

SASS is designed to provide national and state-level estimates. The survey was conducted in 1987–1988, 1993–1994, and 1999–2000. In the future, it is expected to be fielded every four years. In addition to a sampling of public and private schools, all charter and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools are included in the survey.

Information is collected about school-level student characteristics, staffing patterns, salary schedules, teacher recruitment and hiring practices, school choice, types of programs and services offered, graduation rates, and college application rates. The 1999–2000 survey includes some additional information, including the use of school performance reports and information on the education of migrant children. Teacher questionnaires collect data on sociodemographic characteristics, education and training received, teaching assignment, experience levels, certification, workload, perceptions and attitudes about teaching, and workplace conditions. The survey of principals collects sociodemographic information, levels of training experience, salary and benefit levels, and judgments on the seriousness of various school problems (e.g., violence). New data for 1999–2000 include the perceived influence of principals and other groups (e.g., parents, the state), and information on rewards or sanctions for meeting performance goals. To examine the full questionnaires for the 1999–2000 SASS, see http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/asp/questionnaire.asp.

Some state-level estimates have been published from the 1987–1988 and 1993–1994 SASS surveys.21 For those who would like to explore more fully the potential of SASS to produce state-level estimates, the full data set for the 1993–1994 SASS can be ordered at http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/asp/data.asp. However, access to versions of the survey that include state identifiers is restricted for confidentiality reasons and requires a special license from the National Center for Education Statistics. Custom estimates may also be generated through the National Education Resource Center (http://nces.ed.gov/partners/nedrc.html).

Data from the 1999–2000 SASS are expected to become available in publications beginning around June 2001. A public-use version of the data set will be released by the end of the year. For additional information on SASS, see http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass.

Crime and Juvenile Justice

Crime data on juvenile offenders and on children and youth as victims are available at the national, state, and county levels. These estimates, taken from police and court administrative resources and censuses of populations in detention facilities, have been made easily available through data access tools developed by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), U.S. Department of Justice. These are reviewed below.

Easy Access System

Easy Access is a family of software packages developed for the OJJDP by the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) to give a larger audience access to recent, detailed information on juvenile crime and the juvenile justice system. The Easy Access data access tools provide data on children and youth as victims and offenders, juvenile court case processing, and children and youth in residential placement facilities. Several Easy Access applications can be downloaded from OJJDP’s Web site (http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org/facts/ezaccess.html). In addition to PC-based applications, OJJDP is developing a series of Web-based Easy Access applications that will be available from ODDJP’s Statistical Briefing Book, located at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/index.html.

FBI Arrest Statistics. The FBI, through its Uniform Crime Reports program, collects data on more than 30 offense categories. A voluntary program, it collects data from over 17,000 police agencies around the country. The FBI Arrest Statistics package, available through Easy Access, provides access to state- and county-level arrest data on juveniles as well as adults. Separate estimates are offered for over 29 different offenses. OJJDP is currently developing a Web-based version of this application. Until that time, users can download the PC-based version of the program from OJJDP’s Web site.

State and County Juvenile Court Case Counts. This database, also available through Easy Access, provides court case counts for delinquency, status offense, and dependency for states and counties throughout the nation. One limitation is that juveniles who are in the adult court system are not included in these data. This database will be available from OJJDP’s Statistical Briefing Book (see below).

Juvenile Court Statistics. Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics lets users access data on juvenile court processing of approximately 15 million delinquency cases, including national estimates on the age, sex, and race of juveniles involved; the use of detention; adjudication; and disposition. OJJDP is currently developing a Web-based version of this application. Until that time, users can download the PC-based version of the program from OJJDP’s Web site.

FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports. This report series provides data on both victims and offenders for the states and the nation, including information on the age and sex of victims and offenders, weapons used, and victim-offender relationships. Simple cross-tabulations (e.g., sex of offender by type of weapon used) can be produced through the Easy Access database described above. Annual estimates are available for 1980 to 1998 through Easy Access. OJJDP is currently developing a Web-based version of this application. Until that time, users can download the PC-based version of the program from OJJDP’s Web site.

Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook

This is an online, interactive data dissemination tool providing access to state-level data from the Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement. National and state-level estimates for the 1997 census are provided, covering detailed demographic, offense, and placement status of juveniles in residential facilities as well as facility characteristics. The databook is designed to facilitate access to data for individual states and cross-state comparisons. This census is scheduled to take place every two years. Data from the 1999 census will be added to the databook as they become available. The databook is located at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/cjrp/. For more details, see the OJJDP fact sheet, "Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook," which can be downloaded at http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/fact.html.

OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book and the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

Selected state estimates relevant for children and youth from these and other data sources are made available through the OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book, which is available online at http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/ojstatbb/index.html, and the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, at http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/.

Child Welfare

For the past 10 years, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been working with states to develop high-quality national reporting systems in the areas of child abuse and neglect, and foster care and adoption. Two reporting systems have been established as part of this effort: the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis System (AFCARS). All 50 states and the District of Columbia now participate in NCANDS. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia now contribute data to AFCARS, and the remaining five states are expected to begin contributing data within the next few years.

Reports containing detailed, state-level data are published on an annual basis and are identified below. In addition, and in response to the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, the ACF has just released the first edition of what will be an annual report, titled Child Welfare Outcomes. The report uses data from AFCARS and NCANDS to help assess state performance in meeting the needs of children and families who come into contact with the child welfare system. The first edition can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/.

National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS)

NCANDS provides national and state-level estimates of child abuse and neglect based on state reporting of children known to child protective agencies. The system has two components. The first component is the Summary Data Component (SDC), where states provide aggregate data on the number, source, and disposition of reports; type of maltreatment; selected characteristics of victims and perpetrators; child maltreatment deaths; and the size of the state’s child protection service (CPS) workforce. These estimates have been reported annually since 1992 in the series Child Maltreatment: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System. The latest report can be downloaded at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cm99/index.htm.

ACF has worked with all the states to improve the quality and comparability of the data reported in NCANDS, and great strides have been made. Most states fail to report one or more of the standard items in the NCANDS system, though nearly all report number, source, and disposition of cases; type of maltreatment; and deaths from maltreatment. The annual report contains an appendix where the states provide comments on the data elements they provide.

The second component of the system is the Detailed Case Data Component (or DCDC). This consists of individual case-level data on all of the children who are subjects of maltreatment reports. These data allow for more detailed analysis and reporting on abuse and neglect than is possible with the aggregate data from the SDC. In 1998, 20 states submitted DCDC data to the ACF.

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)

Under AFCARS, states submit case-level data on all children in out-of-home care who are under the supervision of the state welfare agency, and for all children whose adoption involved the state welfare agency. The first data were submitted to the system in 1995. In 1998, foster care data were reported by 41 states, and adoption data were provided by 49 states. These case-level data are analyzed by the Administration for Children and Families, the responsible federal agency, and the results reported in agency publications and on the Web. The latest state-level estimates, for 1998, are reported in Child Welfare Outcomes, which can be viewed at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/.

Reported foster care information includes entries into foster care, exits from care (including length of stay and outcome upon exit, such as adoption or emancipation), and children in care by age, race, gender, and care arrangement. Adoption estimates include the number, age, gender, and race of public agency children adopted.

For additional information on and estimates from AFCARS, visit http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/dis/afcars/index.html.

Selected Nonfederal Data Sources

Though the focus of this paper is on federal sources of social indicator data on children and youth, it seems appropriate to mention a few nonfederal resources that may also be of interest to readers. Data resources from individual state and local agencies, which are voluminous, would require their own report and are not covered here.

National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) and the ANF State Database

The National Survey of America’s Families (NSAF) is part of the Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project, a multiyear research project of the Urban Institute and Child Trends that focuses on the devolution of social program responsibilities to the states with particular attention to the areas of health care, income security, job training, and social services. The survey focuses on these and related issues, and also includes many important measures of child and youth well-being and parent-child relationships. The survey was fielded in 1997 and 1999, and will be fielded again in 2002. The survey is designed to allow for national and state-level estimates for 13 states, including Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The project has produced a series of topic-specific reports called Snapshots, which feature comparable state-level estimates of child well-being and family characteristics using data from the NSAF. In addition, survey data are available for those who wish to produce their own analyses.

The ANF project has also produced a State Database containing aggregate data for the 50 states in the areas of income security; health; child well-being; demographic, fiscal, and political conditions; and social services. For more information on the database and the NSAF survey, see http://newfederalism.urban.org/.

Kids Count

The Annie E. Casey Foundation produces an annual report on child well-being featuring comparable data for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Special reports featuring indicators at the city level are also produced on a regular basis. These reports can be accessed at http://www.aecf.org/kidscount.

In addition, the foundation funds organizations in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands to produce similar annual reports featuring comparable data at the local (usually county) level. To contact the individual state organizations, see http://www.aecf.org/kidscount/contacts.htm.

Kids Count has recently produced a series of fact sheets using data from the 2000 decennial census. Basic descriptive data on children and their families are available for states, counties, congressional districts, and selected cities. These fact sheets are now available at http://www.aecf.org/kidscount.

Catalog of Administrative Data Sources

This report catalogs the sources and types of data typically available from local agencies that can be used to create useful social indicators. It describes 42 administrative data sources, including those of particular relevance to those users interested in children, youth, and their families. Areas covered include the economy, education, health, social services, safety and security, community resources and involvement, housing and physical development, and the environment. The report was produced by Claudia Coulton, with Lisa Nelson and Peter Tatian, and is available through the National Neighborhood Indicators Project at http://www.urban.org/nnip/ tools.html.

Appendix - Summary Listing of Federal Web Sites Containing Indicator Data on Children and Youth

Economics and Demographics

American FactFinder

The Census Bureau

Census 2000 Overview and Schedule for Release of Products

Kids Count

American Community Survey (ACS)

The Census Bureau Population Estimates

The Census Bureau Population Projections

Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates

Low-Income Uninsured Children by State

Dropout Rates in the United States

National Center for Children in Poverty

Assessing the New Federalism State Database

The American Housing Survey


CDC Data and Statistics

CDC Wonder

National Vital Statistics System

Community Health Status Indicators Project

National Center for Vital Statistics Birth Data

National Center for Vital Statistics Mortality Data

Health United States, 2000 Report

State Health Profiles, 2000

Vital Statistics of the United States

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center

State and Local Health Departments

HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report

Tuberculosis Surveillance Reports

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System

Youth Tobacco Surveillance Report, 1998–1999

State Youth Tobacco Links

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)

National Immunization Survey (NIS)

Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau

National Household Survey of Drug Abuse

National Health Interview Survey

NCHS Research Data Center


State Profiles of Public Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996–1997

State Comparisons of Education Statistics, 1969–1970 to 1996–1997

Education in States and Nations: Indicators Comparing U.S. States with Other Industrialized Countries in 1991

Digest of Education Statistics

National Education Data Resource Center

National Education Goals Report

National Assessment of Educational Progress

National Assessment of Educational Progress Summary Data Tables

Common Core of Data: Products

Common Core of Data: Data Files

Combined Common Core of Data and Decennial Census Dataset

Dropout Rates in the United States

Common Core of Data Home Page

Encyclopedia of Education Statistics

Schools and Staffing Survey Questionnaire

Schools and Staffing Survey Data Products

Schools and Staffing Survey Home Page

Crime and Juvenile Justice

Easy Access

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Statistical Briefing Book

Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook

Census of Juveniles in Residential Placement Databook Fact Sheet

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

Child Welfare

Child Welfare Outcomes, 1998

Child Maltreatment 1999: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System

Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System

Selected Nonfederal Data Sources

National Survey of America’s Families (NSAF)

Kids Count

Kids Count State Organization Contacts

Catalog of Administrative Data Sources


1. Unless otherwise indicated, references to state-level estimates also include the District of Columbia.

2. This is true of survey microdata and aggregate estimates. This paper focuses primarily on sources of aggregate data.

3. See, for example, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, and other efforts by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (http://www.childstats.gov/).

4. FEDSTATS is a single porthole covering data collected by over 100 federal agencies. Selected estimates at the state and local levels from many different sources are separately identified. See http://www.fedstats.gov/.

5. All households are asked about the following for each member of the household: sex, age, race, ethnicity, housing tenure, and relationship to household head. All other questions identified here are asked in the long form, which is administered to about one in six households.

6. See M. Mather, 2000, "The 2000 Census: Measures of Child Well-Being and Data Products," The Child Indicator 2 (4).

7. Related children include all children under 18 years old in the household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption.

8. See http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/saipe/stcty/d97_48.htm.

9. There are 467 Healthy People 2010 objectives in all.

10. Data on marriages and divorces are also collected, but information on children affected by these events are no longer required to be collected, and so they are not reviewed for this report.

11. Natality data sets can be ordered at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/catalogs/subject/natality/natality.htm. Mortality data sets can be ordered at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/catalogs/subject/mortucd/mortucd.htm.

12. Some preliminary estimates are published by NCHS with a one-year time lag, but they are based on partial data from the states.

13. Data for 33 states and 16 metropolitan areas were considered to be of sufficient quality to publish. The 33 states were Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Metropolitan area YRBS participants in 1999 included Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Detroit, Michigan; the District of Columbia; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Palm Beach, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; San Bernardino, California; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; and Seattle, Washington.

14. There is a core questionnaire of 56 questions. In addition, states may add their own questions.

15. At the end of 2000, PRAMS participants included Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. In the past, California, the District of Columbia, Indiana, and Michigan have also participated.

16. The urban areas include Baltimore, Maryland; Bexar County, Texas; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Dade County, Florida; Dallas County, Texas; Davidson County, Tennessee; Detroit, Michigan; the District of Columbia; Duval County, Florida; El Paso County, Texas; Franklin County, Ohio; Fulton/DeKalb Counties, Georgia; Houston, Texas; Jefferson County, Alabama; King County, Washington; Los Angeles County, California; Maricopa County, Arizona; Marion County, Indiana; Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; New York City, New York; Orleans Parish, Louisiana; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; San Diego County, California; Santa Clara County, California; and Shelby County, Tennessee.

17. For the 1999 report, go to http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm4926.pdf.

18. The national NAEP also assesses students in the 12th grade.

19. For a complete schedule of state assessments from 1990 through 2010, go to http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/about/schedule1969-2010.asp.

20. A similar database was created using 1990 census data and can be ordered from NCES.

21. For example, see State Profiles of Public Elementary and Secondary Education, 1996–1997, which can be accessed at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2000304.

About the Author

Brett Brown is a senior research associate and area director for social indicators research at Child Trends. Dr. Brown manages projects related to the development and use of social indicators of child and family well-being at the international, national, and state levels. He is also a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Community-Level Programs for Youth.

This report is part of the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism project, a multiyear effort to monitor and assess the devolution of social programs from the federal to the state and local levels. Alan Weil is the project director. The project analyzes changes in income support, social services, and health programs. In collaboration with Child Trends, the project studies child and family well-being.

The paper has received funding from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, the Stuart Foundation, the Weingart Foundation, The Fund for New Jersey, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

The authors would like to thank Gina Adams, Jeffrey Capizzano, Jennifer Ehrle, Sandy Hofferth, Aletha Huston, Nancy Geyelin Margie, Kristin Moore, Stefanie Schmidt, Kristin Smith, Freya Sonenstein, and Matt Stagner for reviewing earlier drafts of this paper and providing helpful comments.

Topics/Tags: | Children and Youth | Poverty, Assets and Safety Net

Usage and reprints: Most publications may be downloaded free of charge from the web site and may be used and copies made for research, academic, policy or other non-commercial purposes. Proper attribution is required. Posting UI research papers on other websites is permitted subject to prior approval from the Urban Institute—contact publicaffairs@urban.org.

If you are unable to access or print the PDF document please contact us or call the Publications Office at (202) 261-5687.

Disclaimer: The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. Copyright of the written materials contained within the Urban Institute website is owned or controlled by the Urban Institute.

Email this Page