Twenty-one years ago, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) joined with six other Federal agencies to create the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Formally chartered in April 1997 through Executive Order No. 13045, the Forum’s mission is to develop priorities for collecting enhanced data on children and youth, improve the communication of information on the status of children to the policy community and the general public, and produce more complete data on children at the Federal, state, and local levels. Today the Forum, with participants from 23 Federal agencies, continues to collaborate in the collection, production, and publication of policy-relevant Federal statistics about children and their families.
America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015 is a compendium of indicators depicting the condition of our Nation’s young people. The report, the 17th in an ongoing series, presents 41 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives. These indicators are drawn from our most reliable Federal statistics, are easily understood by broad audiences, are objectively based on substantial research, are balanced so that no single area of children’s lives dominates the report, are measured often to show trends over time, and are representative of large segments of the population rather than one particular group.
The report continues to present key indicators in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. As in prior years, the report incorporates data modifications that reflect the Forum’s efforts to improve its quality and breadth. In addition to updating data sources and expanding several indicators, this year’s report presents a special feature on health care quality among children in the United States. As is our practice, we periodically revise indicators, data sources, and features to maintain the relevance of the report.
Each volume of America’s Children also spotlights critical data gaps and challenges Federal statistical agencies to address them. Forum agencies meet that challenge by working to provide more comprehensive information on the condition and progress of our Nation’s children. This year, the immunization indicator has been aligned with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 standards, and the health insurance indicator was changed to the child’s health insurance coverage at the time of interview as measured in the National Health Interview Survey.
The value of the America’s Children series and the extraordinary cooperation that these reports represent reflect the Forum’s determination to help better understand the well-being of our children today and what may bring them a better future. The Forum agencies should be congratulated once again for developing such a comprehensive set of indicators and ensuring they are readily accessible in both content and format. The report is an excellent reflection of the dedication of the Forum agency staff members who assess data needs, strive to present relevant statistics in an easily understood format, and work together to produce this substantial and important publication. Nonetheless, suggestions of ways we can enhance this volume are always welcome.
No work of this magnitude and quality would be possible without the continued cooperation of the millions of Americans who provide the data that are summarized and analyzed by Federal statistical agencies. This report is, first and foremost, for you and all of the American public. We thank you for your support, and we hope the volume will continue to be useful to you.
Katherine K. Wallman
Office of Management and Budget
Available at: http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/