Infant mortality, pre-term birth, teenage pregnancy, children living in smokers’ homes all drop even as as child poverty goes up

Nationwide, the rates of infants who die, babies who are born prematurely, teens who are having babies, and the percentage of young children who live in a home where someone smokes have all decreased in the last five years. But the percentage of kids who live in poverty has gone up.

These findings are some highlights of the report “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012,” compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. The report, which does not break down data by state, looks at children’s demographic backgrounds, family and social environments, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education and health.

“This year’s report contains good news about newborns,” said Dr. Alan E. Guttmacher, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Fewer infants were born pre-term and fewer died in the first year of life.”

Among other findings: In the last five years there has been a five-fold increase in the percentage of teens who have received the vaccine that prevents the most dangerous form of meningitis. Other key findings show:
• A drop in the percentage of children who live in homes that are classified as food insecure.
• A drop in the percentage of teens ages 16 to 19 who don’t work and are not enrolled in high school or college.
• A rise in the percentage of children from birth to age 17 who live in counties in which one or more air pollutants were above allowable levels.
• An increase of one statistical point in the average math scores for 4th and 8th graders from 2009 to 2011. For a quick glance at the findings, click here. (Read more)

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