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America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2021


The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family
Statistics (Forum) is a wonderful example of how Federal
agencies can increase the effectiveness, efficiency, and
accessibility of the government by working across agency
boundaries to collaborate and innovate. The Forum
was chartered in April 1997 through Executive Order
No. 13045. It has since been successfully bringing
together (from a very decentralized system) high-quality
information that the public and policymakers can easily
access and understand about our Nation’s children and
youth. Working together, Federal agencies are able to set
priorities on what information to collect; develop new
methods for collecting such information; 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.

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being,
2021, is a compendium of indicators about our Nation’s
young people. The report, the 24th produced by the Forum,
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. To ensure that the
information stays relevant, the Forum periodically revises
indicators, data sources, and features to maintain the
relevance of the report.

Although this report is published in 2021, the year after
the COVID-19 pandemic began, the statistics are based on
the most recent data available at the time of the publication
of report, the majority of which were collected prior to
the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many of the data
collection systems that provide information for America’s
Children indicators have adapted to accommodate the
emerging information needs related to the pandemic,
COVID-19–related data were not available for inclusion
in this report. Although children and adolescents have
not experienced severe COVID-19 illness and mortality
to the same degree as older adults, data through spring
2021 indicate that this has become a vulnerable group for
COVID-19 illness with weekly cases among children and
adolescents ages 6–17 surpassing adults age 65 and over
starting in March 2021.1 In addition, COVID-19 has had
a major impact on child and adolescent education, with
nearly a universal shift to long-term virtual learning across
the United States, and on other facets of children’s and
adolescents’ well-being.

Each volume of America’s Children also spotlights critical
data gaps identified by the Forum’s Planning Committee
and its Federal statistical agencies. Starting with the 2017
report, such data concerns, related to understanding the
condition and progress of our Nation’s children, were
consolidated into a stand-alone Data Topics report section,
rather than included as Indicators Needed at the end of each
report domain.

The value of the America’s Children series and the
extraordinary cooperation that these reports represent reflect
the Forum’s determination to work together effectively to
help our Nation 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 that 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 easy-to-use format,
and work together to produce this substantial and important
publication. Of course, 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 the entire American public. We
thank you for your support and important contributions,
and we hope the volume will continue to be useful to you.


Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (2021). America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2021.