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Indiana Ranks 29th Nationally for Child Well-being According to IYI’s 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book

The KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides revealing insight into the issues Hoosier youth are facing today, from infant mortality to high school vaping and college graduation rates.

INDIANAPOLIS (February 25, 2020) — The Indiana Youth Institute (“IYI”), your partner in improving the lives of all Indiana youth, today released the 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book. Receive an in-depth look with statistics and demographics of the issues impacting Indiana youth, including nicotine use, infant mortality, poverty, child maltreatment, and graduation rates.

Information in the data book is both statewide and county specific. As in previous years, the KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides objective, reliable information on the status of Indiana’s children and youth. IYI’s data book examines indicators in the categories of family and community, economic well-being, education, and health.

“It’s in all our best interest to make sure each and every is child healthy, engaged and supported, and to do so we must first understand their current reality,” said IYI President and CEO Tami Silverman.

Data from this year’s report, available on the IYI website, shows:

Child Maltreatment/Neglect

Last year, Indiana had more cases of suspected child maltreatment than any neighboring state, a large amount (81.2%) of which included neglect. Neglect and abuse are estimated to be five times higher for children of lower economic status then that of peers with higher economic status. Young children are also at greater risk, over half (53%) of children experiencing maltreatment were under the age six.

Child Poverty

The number of children living in poverty (18.0%) continues to decrease in Indiana, but nearly the 1 in 5 Hoosier children living in poverty still translates to a nationally ranking of 28th.  While the average household medium income has risen and housing costs remain relatively low, we can still see significant racial and geographic differences in the share of Hoosier families with children, living in poverty. Risk of poverty is then heightened in single parent households and families experiencing transition.


Consistent with last year, Indiana’s best ranking is in education where we rank 21st, yet this is a significant drop from last year’s national ranking of 14th. Education challenges too often begin at a young age, with Indiana’s Pre-K enrollment rates placing us amongst the lowest in the nation (42nd).

While we have a considerable amount of work to do, a bright spot remains that Indiana students in 4th and 8th grade are scoring better in math and reading than their peers nationally.

Youth who graduate from high school are more likely to be employed, earn higher incomes, and enjoy better health than those who do not earn a high school diploma. However, Indiana’s high school graduation rate has steadily decreased since 2014 and currently matches the state’s lowest graduation rate in the past five years (87.2%)

Infant Mortality/Insurance

A child’s first year of life is the most fragile and unfortunately, Indiana infants are more likely to die in their first year than those in 43 other states. And black infants in Indiana are twice as likely to die before their first birthday. Access to health care is important for ensuring children of all ages maintain good health and while a majority (93.4%) of Indiana youth have access to health insurance, as a state we still fall below the national coverage rate (94.8%).


Nicotine use, especially vaping, is on the rise and threatens the health of our teens. We can see the popularity and usage of electronic vapor product steadily growing from a student’s 9th grade year to 12th. Two out of five High School seniors have admitted to using JUUL or an electronic vapor product (40%).

All of Indiana’s 1,568,130 children deserve a safe, productive, healthy environment where they can learn, grow, and thrive. IYI’s 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book is a starting point for community conversations and activation.

The Indiana Youth Institute is a leading advocate and voice for the state’s youth worker field. They provide innovative trainings, critical data, and capacity-building resources, aiming every effort at increasing the well-being of all children.


NOTE TO MEDIA: To arrange an interview or find potential sources on youth-related topics, please contact Margaret Duxbury at mduxbury@iyi.org  or 317-460-9464. The latest KIDS COUNT® data is available online in the “Data & Research” section of www.iyi.org. IYI’s Team is available to help find youth-related data not listed on the site.