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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Demographic changes for U.S. adolescents
Report: Fewer children, teen births down
 
Published Tuesday, July 16, 2013 11:00 am
by Michaela L. Duckett

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By the year 2050, about half of the American population under age 17 will be Hispanic, Asian or of two or more races according to a federal report.

The number of children living in the United States has declined slightly. And as the percentage of black and white children living in the United States has declined, the percentage of children who are Asian, Hispanic or of two or more races has gone up.

Those are just a few of the findings described in “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013,” a report compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics.

The report projects that by 2050, about half of the American population ages 17 and under will be Hispanic, Asian, or of two or more races. According to the study, 36 percent will be Hispanic (up from 24 percent in 2012); 6 percent will be Asian (up from 5 percent in 2012); and 7 percent will be of two or more races (up from 4 percent in 2012).

The annual report is the 16th 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.

It includes participants from 22 federal agencies as well as partners in several private research organizations. The forum fosters coordination, collaboration, and integration of federal efforts to collect and report data on children and families.

Among the findings in this year's report:

  • A drop for the fifth straight year in the percentage of infants born preterm, from 12.8 percent in 2006 to 11.7 in 2011.
  • A drop in the percentage of children ages 4–11 with any detectable blood cotinine level, a measure for recent exposure to secondhand smoke, from 53 percent in the years 2007 and 2008 to 42 percent in 2009 and 2010).
  • A drop in births to adolescents, from 17 per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 in 2009 to 15 per 1,000 in 2011 (preliminary data).
  • A drop in the percentage of births to unmarried women ages 15 to 44, from 40.8 percent in 2010 to 40.7 percent in 2011.
  • A rise in the percentage of male and female 12th graders who reported binge drinking — consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past two weeks — from 22 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2012.
  • A drop in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living with two married parents, from 65 percent in 2010 to 64 percent in 2011.
  • A drop in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years with no usual source of health care, from 5 percent in 2010 to 4 percent in 2011.
  • A rise in the percentage of households with children from birth to 17 years that reported housing that costs more than 30 percent of household income, crowding, and/or physically inadequate housing, from 45 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2011.
  • A rise in the percentage of children from birth to 17 years of age living with at least one parent employed year round full time, from 71 percent in 2010 to 73 percent in 2011.
  • A drop in the percentage of children ages 5–17 with untreated dental caries (cavities or tooth decay) over the past decade, from 23 percent in 1999 - 2004 to 14 percent in 2009 – 2010.
  • A rise in the percentage of children ages 5–17 with a dental visit in the past year from 85 percent in 2010 to 87 percent in 2011. 
  • The percentage of youth ages 12–17 who had a major depressive episode was unchanged in the previous year (8.2 percent in 2010 and 2011). However, this figure was lower than the 2004 high of 9 percent.

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