From the News Release/Summary:
The number of American infants born before the 37th week of pregnancy dropped slightly in 2013, as did the percentage of children with asthma under the age of 17. The percentage of teens who experienced a major depressive episode increased.
These and other findings are described in America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015. The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, which includes participants from 23 federal agencies. The forum fosters coordination, collaboration, and integration of federal efforts to collect and report data on children and families.
According to the report, youth who have had a major depressive episode in the past year are at greater risk for suicide. They are more likely than other youth to initiate alcohol and other drug use, experience concurrent substance use disorders, and smoke daily. A major depressive episode is defined as a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, plus four other symptoms of depression, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and feelings of self-worth. The report noted that the percentage of youth ages 12-17 who experienced a major depressive episode increased from 9 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2013. Those who received treatment for such an episode declined from 40 percent in 2004 to 38 percent in 2013.
Poverty rates among children declined, according to the report. The percentage of children living in poverty dropped to 20 percent in 2013 from 22 percent in 2012. The percentage of children with at least one working parent increased during the same time period. Similarly, the percentage of children in households experiencing housing problems also has declined.
This year’s report is the 17th in an ongoing series and presents key indicators of children’s wellbeing in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.
Regarding behavioral indicators, 10th and 12th graders were less likely to smoke, and eighth and 12th graders were less likely to have reported binge drinking (five or more alcoholic drinks in a row) in the two weeks prior to the survey.
Within the overall population of children, the percentage of children declined to 23.1 percent in 2014, from 23.3 percent in 2013 Among the child population, the percentage of White, non-Hispanic children declined slightly, and there were slight increases in the percentage of children classified as Hispanic, Asian, non-Hispanic, and of two or more races, non-Hispanic.
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