The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual assessment of how children are faring in the United States and in each state. The 2021 Data Book—the 32nd edition—was published on June 21, 2021. In addition to providing annual state rankings, this edition includes information on the challenges children and their families are facing during the pandemic to present the most up-to-date picture of child well-being in the United States.
Members of PRB’s U.S. Programs staff have played an essential role in the production of the DataBook since its inception, providing feedback on the design and measurement of the KIDS COUNT index and compiling the data presented in the Data Book.
The annual assessment of child well-being in the 2021 Data Book is based on the most recent data available (2019 data for most indicators) and documents key trends since 2010. These data provide information about child well-being just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eleven of the 16 key indicators showed improvement, and only one indicator—the percent of babies born with low birth weight—worsened. The 2021 Data Book also highlights persistent racial and ethnicity disparities and shows that children of color continue to face steep barriers to success.
The 2021 Data Book draws on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey and shows that households with children faced substantial challenges in 2020 because of the pandemic, including food and housing insecurity and access to a computer and the internet for educational purposes. However, the data also show the start of a recovery in the first few months of 2021. These experimental data provide the most comprehensive information on well-being during the pandemic for all 50 states.
The 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book may be accessed at aecf.org/databook. Additional tools, maps, graphs, and data on many more indicators of child well-being are available at the KIDS COUNT Data Center.
For more information on the life disruptions and emotional and behavior consequences of the pandemic for children in California, the KidsData program at PRB provides quick access to data from responses to the “Family Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic” questionnaire.