November 16, 2017

What Are We Thankful For? Progress!

Across the country, fewer children are now living in poverty and more are graduating high school on time. The nation’s teen birth rate is at an all-time low and universal health care coverage for children is close to becoming a reality. Equally important: More children are growing up in households led by an adult who has graduated from college.

These successes are worth celebrating — and worthy of a closer look.

The nation’s child poverty rate has declined since peaking at 23% in 2011. As of 2016, 19% of American children — 14 million kids total — are now living in poverty.

The proportion of high school students not graduating on time has dropped from 21% in 2010-2011 to just 17% in 2014-2015.

The nation’s teen birth rate has fallen 63% since 1990, from 60 births per 1,000 teens to just 22 births per 1,000 teens.

Just 4% of kids — 3.3 million children total — lacked health insurance in 2016. This statistic is down from 10% in 2008, when 7.3 million kids were growing up without health insurance.

In 2007 and 2008, 28% of kids were growing up in a household led by someone who had earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. By 2015, this rate had increased to 33%.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation and its KIDS COUNT Network are grateful for these gains, which are the direct result of policies, programs and practices that have made children and families a priority in the wake of the latest recession. Moving forward, policymakers must continue to safeguard and grow the well-being of our country by working to ensure that all children have access to the resources and opportunities that they need to thrive.