April 09, 2010

U.S. Birth Rate Decline Linked to Recession

U.S. Birth Rate Decline Linked to Recession
By: Gretchen Livingston and D’Vera Cohn
Source: Pew Research Center, Social and Demographic Trends

From Introduction:

Birth rates in the United States began to decline in 2008 after rising to their highest level in two decades, and the decrease appears to be linked to the recession, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of state fertility and economic data.

This analysis is based on data from the 25 states for which final 2008 birth numbers are available. State-level indicators were used because the magnitude and timing of the recent economic decline varies from state to state, thus allowing a more nuanced analysis of links with fertility than is possible at the national level.

Full report (PDF)
Appendix (PDF)

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The Return of the Multi-Generational Family Household

The Return of the Multi-Generational Family Household
Source: Pew Research Center, Social and Demographic Trends

From Section 1:

The multi-generational American family household is staging a comeback -- driven in part by the job losses and home foreclosures of recent years but more so by demographic changes that have been gathering steam for decades.

As of 2008, a record 49 million Americans, or 16.1% of the total U.S. population, lived in a family household that contained at least two adult generations or a grandparent and at least one other generation, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

Complete report (PDF)

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April 06, 2010

Family Factors and Student Outcomes

Family Factors and Student Outcomes
By: Nailing Xia
Source: RAND Corporation, PRGS Dissertations

To examine the effects of family process variables (specific things families do) and family status variables (who families are) on students' academic achievement and nonacademic outcomes, the author uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, a U.S. longitudinal dataset that follows a nationally representative sample of children from kindergarten through fifth grade, and the Programme for International Student Assessment, a cross-country cross-sectional dataset that assesses academic achievement of 15-year-old students. The U.S. data indicate that even after controlling for demographics and school inputs, student achievement was associated with such process variables as parental expectations and beliefs, learning structure, resource availability, home environment, parenting and disciplinary practices, and parental involvement. In addition, doing homework more frequently, having home Internet access, and owning a community library card had higher returns in terms of student achievement for black children or children from low socio-economic families than for their counterparts. U.S. students did not fare as well as their peers in other countries and economies, and family process variables, especially considered collectively, are important factors in explaining student achievement in an international setting.

Summary (PDF)
Full document (PDF)

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March 16, 2010

Asset Poverty and Debt Among Families with Children

Asset Poverty and Debt Among Families with Children
Yumiko Aratani and Michelle Chau
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

From Introduction:

Increasingly the significance of asset ownership among low-income families is being recognized. Assets such as savings and homeownership are vital components of a family’s economic security, along with income and human and social capital. In this report, we use the term “assets” to refer to financial and economic resources, not including human capital. Unlike labor market earnings, income generated from assets provides a cushion for families in case of job loss, illness, death of a parent, or even natural disaster. This cushion may be especially important for the working poor, whose economic lives can be severely impacted by even short periods of unemployment. Asset ownership can also have long-term consequences for children. Research shows parental financial assets such as savings are positively associated with the cognitive development of school-age children. Homeownership is also known to have a positive effect on high school graduation. There are two major ways in which assets positively benefit children. First, housing assets can be seen as a proxy for the quality of residence. Homeownership provides residential stability, and the market value of homes often indicates the quality of school that children attend. Secondly, financial assets are potential resources for a family to invest in children. They can be used for sending children to preparatory schools or financing a college education. Thus, family assets can positively promote children’s well-being and educational achievements.

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January 28, 2010

Following Decade-Long Decline, U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate Increases as Both Births and Abortions Rise

U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity
Source: Guttmacher Institute

From the news release (1/26/10):

For the first time in more than a decade, the nation’s teen pregnancy rate rose 3% in 2006, reflecting increases in teen birth and abortion rates of 4% and 1%, respectively.

These new data from the Guttmacher Institute are especially noteworthy because they provide the first documentation of what experts have suspected for several years, based on trends in teens’ contraceptive use—that the overall teen pregnancy rate would increase in the mid-2000s following steep declines in the 1990s and a subsequent plateau in the early 2000s. The significant drop in teen pregnancy rates in the 1990s was overwhelmingly the result of more and better use of contraceptives among sexually active teens. However, this decline started to stall out in the early 2000s, at the same time that sex education programs aimed exclusively at promoting abstinence—and prohibited by law from discussing the benefits of contraception—became increasingly widespread and teens’ use of contraceptives declined.

Full report (PDF)
Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health (PDF)

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January 25, 2010

Who Are America's Poor Children?

Who Are America's Poor Children? The Official Story
By: Vanessa R. Wight, Michelle Chau, and Yumiko Aratani
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

More than 13 million American children live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level, which is $22,050 a year for a family of four. The number of children living in poverty increased by 21 percent between 2000 and 2008. There are 2.5 million more children living in poverty today than in 2000.

Not only are these numbers troubling, the official poverty measure tells only part of the story. Research consistently shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice the federal poverty level to make ends meet. Children living in families with incomes below this level – for 2009, $44,100 for a family of four – are referred to as low income. Forty-one percent of the nation’s children – more than 29 million in 2008 – live in low-income families.

Nonetheless, eligibility for many public benefits is based on the official poverty measure. This fact sheet – the first in a series focusing on economic and material hardship – details some of the characteristics of American children who are considered poor by the official standard.

Full text (HTML)

Full text (PDF)

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December 07, 2009

Educators See More Hungry Students in Their Classrooms

Hunger in America's Classrooms
Source: American Federation of Teachers

Educators across the nation report that, with increasing frequency, they are witnessing hunger among their students—which affects the ability to concentrate and learn—despite government and private nutrition programs intended to ensure children have enough to eat in and out of school, according to a new survey of classroom instructors released on Nov. 23.

Full report (PDF)

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Using State Tests in Education Experiments: A Discussion of the Issues

Using State Tests in Education Experiments: A Discussion of the Issues
By: Henry May, Irma Perez-Johnson, Joshua Haimson, Samina Sattar, Phil Gleason
Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

Securing data on students' academic achievement is typically one of the most important and costly aspects of conducting education experiments. As state assessment programs have become practically universal and more uniform in terms of grades and subjects tested, the relative appeal of using state tests as a source of study outcome measures has grown. However, the variation in state assessments—in both content and proficiency standards—complicates decisions about whether a particular state test is suitable for research purposes and poses difficulties when planning to combine results across multiple states or grades. This discussion paper aims to help researchers evaluate and make decisions about whether and how to use state test data in education experiments. It outlines the issues that researchers should consider, including how to evaluate the validity and reliability of state tests relative to study purposes; factors influencing the feasibility of collecting state test data; how to analyze state test scores; and whether to combine results based on different tests. It also highlights best practices to help inform ongoing and future experimental studies. Many of the issues discussed are also relevant for non-experimental studies.

Full report (PDF)

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November 13, 2009

Articles on Fertility from the Economist

The move to replacement-level fertility is one of the most dramatic social changes in history, according to an article in the Economist.

Falling fertility
"Today’s fall in fertility is both very large and very fast. Poor countries are racing through the same demographic transition as rich ones, starting at an earlier stage of development and moving more quickly."

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October 19, 2009

The States of Marriage and Divorce

The States of Marriage and Divorce
By: D’Vera Cohn
Source: Pew Research Center

In Arkansas and Oklahoma, men and women marry young -- half of first-time brides in these states were age 24 or younger on their wedding day. These states also have above-average shares of women who divorced in 2007-2008.
It's the opposite state of affairs in Massachusetts and New York. Their residents marry late -- half of ever-married New York men were older than age 30 when they first wed. These states also have below-average shares of men and women who divorced in 2007-2008.
Full report Interactive Maps

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October 16, 2009

Abortion and Unintended Pregnancy Decline Worldwide as Contraceptive Use Increases

Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress
By: Susheela Singh, Deirdre Wulf, Rubina Hussain, Akinrinola Bankole, and Gilda Sedgh
Source: Guttmacher Institute

From the news release:

Increases in global contraceptive use have contributed to a decrease in the number of unintended pregnancies and, in turn, a decline in the number of abortions, which fell from an estimated 45.5 million procedures in 1995 to 41.6 million in 2003. While both the developed and the developing world experienced these positive trends, developed regions saw the greatest progress. Within the developing world, improvement varied widely, with Africa lagging behind other regions, according to “Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress,” a major new Guttmacher Institute report released today.

Full news release
Full report (PDF)

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October 12, 2009

The Harried Life of the Working Mother

The Harried Life of the Working Mother
By: Kim Parker, Pew Research Center

Women now make up almost half of the U.S. labor force, up from 38% in 1970. This nearly forty-year trend has been fueled by a broad public consensus about the changing role of women in society. A solid majority of Americans (75%) reject the idea that women should return to their traditional roles in society, and most believe that both husband and wife should contribute to the family income.

Full text (HTML)

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October 07, 2009

America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2007

America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2007
By: Rose M. Kreider and Diana B. Elliott
Source: U.S. Census, Current Population Reports

Some highlights of the report are:
• Sixty-eight percent of households in 2007 were family households, compared with 81 percent in 1970.
• The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2007, from 17 percent to 27 percent.
• Between 1970 and 2007, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6.
• Most family groups with children under 18 (67 percent) were maintained by married couples.
• The vast majority of fathers who lived with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s mother (94 percent). In comparison, 74 percent of mothers living with their child under 18 also lived with the child’s father.

Full text (PDF)

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September 23, 2009

Nation′s Teen Vaccination Coverage Increasing, Variability Observed By Area, Race/Ethnicity, and Poverty Status

Nation′s Teen Vaccination Coverage Increasing, Variability Observed By Area, Race/Ethnicity, and Poverty Status
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

From Press Release:

Vaccine coverage rates for the nation’s preteens and teens are increasing, but nationally, rates remain low for the vaccines specifically recommended for preteens, according to 2008 estimates released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Vaccination coverage for teens is moving up, but much work remains,” said Melinda Wharton, M.D., Deputy Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We have the most room for improvement for the vaccines that are recommended at 11 or 12 years of age, and for making sure that teens who are not immune to chickenpox receive the vaccine as recommended.”

The National Immunization Survey (NIS) estimates the proportion of teens aged 13 through 17 years who have received six recommended vaccines by the time they are surveyed. Three of these are recommended to be given at age 11 or 12 years: the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap), the meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MCV4), and, for girls, the human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4). If missed at this age, the vaccines can be given in the teen years. The survey also covers three other vaccines, which are recommended to be given earlier in life: measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR), hepatitis B vaccine (HepB), and varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. Preteens and teens should get all recommended doses of these vaccines if they missed them when they were younger. All doses are counted, no matter when they were received.

2008 National Immunization Survey Data Released

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August 24, 2009

Relationships in the United States

"Living Apart Together": Relationships in the United States
By: Charles Strohm, Judith Seltzer, Susan Cochran, and Vickie Mays
Source: Demographic Research

We use two surveys to describe the demographic and attitudinal correlates of being in “Living Apart Together” (LAT), cohabiting, and marital relationships for heterosexuals, lesbians, and gay men. About one third of U.S. adults not married or cohabiting are in LAT relationships – these individuals would be classified as “single” in conventional studies that focus on residential unions. Gay men are somewhat more likely than heterosexual men to be in LAT relationships. For heterosexuals and lesbians, LAT relationships are more common among younger people. Heterosexuals in LAT unions are less likely to expect to marry their partners, but more likely to say that couples should be emotionally dependent than are cohabiters. Regardless of sexual orientation, people in LAT relationships perceive similar amounts of emotional support from partners, but less instrumental support than cohabiters perceive.

Full text (PDF)

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August 12, 2009

School Meal Program Participation and Its Association with Dietary Patterns and Childhood Obesity

School Meal Program Participation and Its Association with Dietary Patterns and Childhood Obesity
By: Philip Gleason, Ronette Briefel, Ander Wilson, and Allison Hedley Dodd
Source: United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

This study used data from the School Nutrition Dietary Assessment III Study to examine the dietary patterns of school meal program participants and nonparticipants and the relationship between school meal participation and children’s Body Mass Index (BMI). School Breakfast Program (SBP) participants ate more low-nutrient energy-dense (LNED) baked goods and more calories at breakfast than did nonparticipants. National School Lunch Program (NSLP) participants had lower intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and a lower percentage of calories from LNED foods and beverages than did nonparticipants. Overall, NSLP participation was not significantly related to students’ BMI, although participants were less likely to be overweight or obese than nonparticipants among Black students but more likely to be so among “other race” students. SBP participants had significantly lower BMI than did nonparticipants, possibly because SBP participants are more likely to eat breakfast and eat more at breakfast, spreading calorie intake more evenly over the course of the day.

This study was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., under contract number 59-5000-6-0076. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of ERS or USDA.

Full text (PDF)

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August 11, 2009

Expenditures on Children by Families, 2008

Expenditures on Children by Families, 2008
By: Mark Lino & Andrea Carlson
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

Since 1960, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided estimates of expenditures on children from birth through age 17. This technical report presents the most recent estimates for husband-wife and single-parent families using data from the 2005-06 Consumer Expenditure Survey, updated to 2008 dollars using the Consumer Price Index. Data and methods used in calculating annual child-rearing expenses are described. Estimates are provided for major components of the budget by age of child, family income, and region of residence. For the overall United States, annual child-rearing expense estimates ranged between $11,610 and $13,480 for a child in a two-child, married-couple family in the middle-income group. Adjustment factors for number of children in the household are also provided. Results of this study should be of use in developing State child support and foster care guidelines, as well as in family educational programs.

Full text (PDF)

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August 10, 2009

Kids Count 2009

The 2009 Kids Count Data Book
Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Counting What Counts: Taking Results Seriously for Vulnerable Children and Families: The 20th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book profiles the well-being of America’s children on a state-by-state basis and ranks states on 10 key measures of child well-being. The Data Book essay calls for a “data revolution” that uses timely and reliable information to track the progress and improve the lives of vulnerable children.

2009 Essay
Overall State Rankings
Kids Count Data Center

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August 04, 2009

Achievement Gaps

Achievement Gaps: How Black and White Students in Public Schools Perform in Mathematics and Reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
By: Alan Vanneman, Linda Hamilton, Janet Baldwin Anderson, Taslima Rahman
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

In 2007, mathematics scores for both Black and White public school students in grades 4 and 8 nationwide, as measured by the main NAEP assessments of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), were higher than in any previous assessment, going back to 1990. This was also true for Black and White fourth-graders on the NAEP 2007 Reading Assessment. For grade 8, reading scores for both Black and White students were higher in 2007 than in the first reading assessment year, 1992, as well as the most recent previous assessment year, 2005.

Executive Summary
Full report (PDF)

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July 24, 2009

Adolescent Women’s Contraceptive Use Is Less Consistent Than That of Adult Women, With a Much Higher Failure Rate

Adolescent Women’s Contraceptive Use Is Less Consistent Than That of Adult Women, With a Much Higher Failure Rate: New Analysis Compares Evidence from More Than 40 Countries
By: Ann K. Blanc, Amy O. Tsui, Trevor N. Croft and Jamie L. Trevit
Source: International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health (via Guttmacher Institute)

CONTEXT: The reproductive choices made by young women and men have an enormous impact on their health, schooling, employment prospects and overall transition to adulthood. As the largest cohort of young people in history enter their childbearing years, their reproductive behavior will determine the growth and size of the world's population for decades to come.

METHODS: Demographic and Health Survey data from more than 40 countries were used to examine the proportions of 15–19-year-old women who are currently married or are unmarried but sexually active; their rates of contraceptive adoption, current use, discontinuation, method switching and contraceptive failure; trends in these indicators; and comparisons with older women.

RESULTS: In many countries, the proportion of adolescent women using contraceptives increased substantially over the last two decades; prevalence among adolescents increased faster than among older women. Greater proportions of adolescents than of older women discontinued using a contraceptive method within a year or experienced contraceptive failure.

CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent contraceptive use is growing, and compared with adult use, is characterized by shorter periods of consistent use with more contraceptive failure and more stopping for other reasons. Use through the reproductive years is likely to grow, fueled further by growth in the numbers of young people. An expanded demand for contraceptive supplies, services and information can be expected to challenge the preparedness, capacity and resources of existing family planning programs and providers.

Full text (HTML)
Full text (PDF)

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July 14, 2009

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009
Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009 is a compendium of indicators illustrating both the promises and the difficulties confronting our Nation’s young people. The report presents 40 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives. These indicators are drawn from our most reliable statistics, easily understood by broad audiences, objectively based on substantial research, balanced so that no single area of children’s lives dominates the report, measured regularly so that they can be updated to show trends over time, and representative of large segments of the population rather than one particular group.

This year’s report continues to present key indicators grouped by the seven sections identified in the restructured 10th anniversary report (2007): family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. The report incorporates several modifications that reflect the Forum’s ongoing efforts to improve its quality and comprehensiveness: updates to data sources and substantive expansions or clarifications have been made for several indicators; a regular indicator on adolescent depression has been added, addressing an ongoing data gap on the mental heath of children; and a special feature, Children with Special Health Care Needs, has been included.

Foreword and Table of Contents
Full text (PDF)

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July 10, 2009

Medicaid Funding and Abortion

Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review
By: Stanley K. Henshaw, Theodore J. Joyce, Amanda Dennis, Lawrence B. Finer and Kelly Blanchard
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Approximately one-fourth of women who would obtain a Medicaid-funded abortion if given the option are instead forced to carry their pregnancy to term when state laws restrict Medicaid funding for abortion, because they lack the money to pay for the procedure themselves. According to a new report, “Restrictions on Medicaid Funding for Abortions: A Literature Review,” by the Guttmacher Institute and Ibis Reproductive Health, Medicaid funding restrictions also delay some women’s abortion by 2–3 weeks, primarily because of difficulties women encounter in raising funds to pay for the procedure.

Full report (PDF)

For more information on Medicaid funding for abortion, click here: State Policies in Brief: State Funding of Abortion Under Medicaid.

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July 08, 2009

Who Marries and When? Age at First Marriage in the United States: 2002

Who Marries and When? Age at First Marriage in the United States: 2002
By: Paula Goodwin, Brittany McGill, and Anjani Chandra
Source: NCHS Data Brief

Key findings:
Data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth

+ Over 70% of men and women aged 25-44 have ever been married: 71% of men and 79% of women.

+ Non-Hispanic black men and women aged 25-44 have lower percentages who have ever been married than non-Hispanic white and Hispanic persons of the same age.

+ The probability that men will marry by age 40 is 81%; for women, it is 86%.

+A larger percentage of women than men aged 35-44 have married by age 35.

+ Smaller percentages of non-Hispanic black women aged 35-44 have married by age 35 than non-Hispanic white or Hispanic women of the same age range.

+ Smaller percentages of non-Hispanic black men aged 35-44 who are below the poverty line have been married by age 35 than non-Hispanic black men of the same age who are at least 200% above poverty.

Full text (PDF)

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No Crystal Ball Needed: Teens Are Heading in the Wrong Direction

Changing Behavioral Risk for Pregnancy among High School Students in the United States, 1991-2007
By: John S. Santelli, Mark Orr, Laura D. Lindberg, and Daniela C. Diaz
Source: Guttmacher Institute

Between 2003 and 2007, the progress made in the 1990s and early 2000s in improving teen contraceptive use and reducing teen pregnancy and childbearing stalled, and may even have reversed among certain groups of teens, according to “Changing Behavior Risk for Pregnancy Among High School Students in the United States, 1991–2007,” by John S. Santelli et al. Between 1991 and 2003, teens’ condom use increased while their use of no contraceptive method declined, leading to a decreased risk of pregnancy and to declines in teen pregnancy and childbearing. These new findings paint a very different picture since 2003.

Using data from young women in grades 9–12 who participated in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the authors estimated teens’ risk of becoming pregnant based on their sexual activity, the contraceptive method they used and the effectiveness of that method in preventing pregnancy. The authors found no change in teen sexual activity between 2003 and 2007, but did find a small decline in contraceptive use.

Press Release
Full Text (PDF)

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June 16, 2009

The one-child family: France in the European context

The one-child family: France in the European context
By: Didier Breton and France Prioux
Source: Demographic Research


This paper observes the change since the 1970s in the proportion of men and women having only one child during their reproductive life, and examines their sociodemographic characteristics. The aim is to explore the significant variables of the complement of the parity progression ratio from first to second birth (1-A1). First, we present the theories, findings and results relating to the single-child family model in Europe. Then, we perform a multivariate analysis with the dependent variable of the model being the fact of not having had a second child ten years after the birth of a first child in stable unions.

Full text (PDF)

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June 12, 2009

Changes in Fertility Rates Among Muslims in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh

Changes in Fertility Rates Among Muslims in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh: An interview with Mehtab Karim, a senior research adviser and senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and World Affairs
By: Eric Zuehlke
Source: Population Reference Bureau

The number of Muslims worldwide is projected to grow over the next decade to reach one-quarter of the world's population, largely because of higher fertility among Muslim populations. Yet, it is simplistic to argue that there is a specifically Islamic pattern of fertility due solely to religious influence, says Mehtab Karim, a senior research adviser and senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and World Affairs. Karim visited PRB as part of its ongoing Policy Seminar series and presented findings based on the latest Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

Full text of interview

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May 28, 2009

Trends in Sexual Experience, Contraceptive Use, and Teenage Childbearing: 1992–2002

Trends in Sexual Experience, Contraceptive Use, and Teenage Childbearing: 1992–2002
Source: Journal of Adolescent Health

Recent increases in the U.S. teen birth rate highlight the continued importance of improving reproductive health outcomes. Our research suggests that it is important for programs to take into consideration how family, individual, and relationship environments influence decision-making about sex, contraception, and childbearing.

Posted by yanfu at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2009

Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States

Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States
By: Stephanie J. Ventura, Division of Vital Statistics
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Data Brief

This report examines data on nonmarital births from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS). The principal measures reviewed are the number of births to unmarried women, the birth rate for unmarried women, and the percentage of all births to unmarried women. The most recent data available are from the 2007 preliminary birth file (5). Data for 2006 are shown where the 2007 data are not available. Comparisons are also made with selected earlier years reflecting key points of change.

Full text (PDF)

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May 14, 2009

WIC and the Battle Against Childhood Overweight

WIC and the Battle Against Childhood Overweight
By: Michele Ver Ploeg
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

One of the most worrisome aspects of the growing tide of obesity in the United States is the high rate of overweight among children. Over one in five young children, ages 2 to 5, are at risk of being overweight. The number of children at risk of being overweight has grown in the past two decades, as has the number of young children whose families participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Are these increases connected? The answer appears to be “No.” However, being from a low-income family, especially a low-income, Mexican-American family, does raise the probability of a child’s being at risk for overweight. This brief examines trends in the relationship between WIC participation and weight status by updating the results of Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs and Obesity: 1976-2002 (ERR-48) to include data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Full text (PDF)

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May 04, 2009

High School Students and Smoking

High School Students Who Tried to Quit Smoking Cigarettes — United States, 2007
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

In the United States, cigarette use is the leading cause of preventable death, and most adult smokers started before the age of 18 years. Nicotine dependence maintains tobacco use and makes quitting difficult. Despite their relatively short smoking histories, many adolescents who smoke are nicotine dependent, and such dependence can lead to daily smoking. To examine the extent to which high school students had tried to quit smoking cigarettes, CDC analyzed data from the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a nationally representative survey of students in grades 9–12 in the United States. This report describes the results of that analysis, which found that 60.9% of students who ever smoked cigarettes daily tried to quit smoking cigarettes, and 12.2% were successful. These findings indicate that comprehensive tobacco control programs need to continue to implement community-based interventions that prevent initiation and increase cessation and increase the use of evidence-based cessation strategies for youths.

Full text (html)
PDF of full issue (May 1, 2009)

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March 18, 2009

Teen Birth Rates Up Slightly in 2007 for Second Consecutive Year

Births: Preliminary Data for 2007
Source: CDC′s National Center for Health Statistics

From the news release:

The birth rate for U.S. teens aged 15 to 19 increased by about 1 percent in 2007, from 41.9 births per 1,000 in 2006 to 42.5 in 2007, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the second year in a row that teen births have gone up. They increased 3 percent in 2006 following a 14-year decline.

Birth rates also increased for women in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, but remained unchanged for younger teens and pre-teens aged 10-14. Only Hispanic teens noted a decline in the birth rate, which fell 2 percent in 2007 to 81.7 births per 1,000.

Full report (PDF)

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March 02, 2009

New Findings from Families and Living Arrangements

As Baby Boomers Age, Fewer Families Have Children Under 18 at Home
Source: America’s Families and Living Arrangements, Current Population Survey, U.S. Census

From Press Release:

With declining fertility rates and the aging of baby boomers, the percentage of families with their own child living at home decreased to 46 percent in 2008, from 52 percent in 1950, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The findings come from America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2008, a collection of 2008 Current Population Survey (CPS) statistics on family and nonfamily households, characteristics of single-parent families, living arrangements of children and data on married and unmarried couples. The CPS has been conducted annually since 1940.

“Decreases in the percentage of families with their own child under 18 at home reflect the aging of the population and changing fertility patterns,” said Rose Kreider, family demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau. “In 2008, not only were baby boomers old enough that most of their children were 18 and over, but they were having fewer kids than their parents, as well.”

In 1950, 52 percent of family households had their own child under 18. During the years when the baby boomers were young, this percentage increased, reaching 57 percent in the early 1960s. In 2008, however, when the baby boomers were about ages 44 to 62, and likely to be householders themselves, the percentage of families with a child had declined to 46 percent.

Detailed Tables

Posted by ljridley at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)

Grandparents and Adolescent Adjustment

Grandparenting and Adolescent Adjustment in Two-Parent Biological, Lone-Parent, and Step-Families
By: Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz, Jo-Pei Tan, Ann Buchanan, Julia Griggs, and Eirini Flouri
Source: Journal of Family Psychology

From press release:

Spending time with a grandparent is linked with better social skills and fewer behavior problems among adolescents, especially those living in single-parent or stepfamily households, according to a new study.

This study, appearing in the February Journal of Family Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association, found that children and adolescents whose parents have separated or divorced see their grandparents as confidants and sources of comfort.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2009

Rising Teen Fertility

Rising Teen Fertility
by Rogelio Saenz and Eugenia Conde, Population Reference Bureau

"The United States continues to have the highest teenage fertility rate in the developed world. Recent data may point to a disturbing reversal of the decline in the teenage fertility rate of the United States that had been apace over the 14-year period from 1991 to 2005."

Full Report

Posted by ljridley at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2009

Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice Annual Report 2008

Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice Annual Report 2008
Source: Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice

The Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice (FACJJ) commenced in 2004 and was charged with the responsibility of annually providing advice to the President and the Congress regarding State perspectives on legislation pertaining to juvenile justice and delinquency prevention and advice on the operation of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The membership FACJJ is composed of one representative from each State and territory and the District of Columbia.

On behalf of FACJJ, I am pleased to present the 2008 Annual Report, which addresses major issues currently facing our Nation's juvenile justice system. Paramount among its concerns, FACJJ strong urges the passage of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2008.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2008

Juvenile Arrests 2006

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has published "Juvenile Arrests 2006." The 12-page bulletin draws on data from the FBI's "Crime in the United States 2006" to analyze trends in juvenile arrests.

In 2006, U.S. law enforcement agencies made an estimated 2.2 million arrests of persons under age 18. In 1994, 1 of 6 alleged murder offenders known to law enforcement was younger than 18. In 2006, the ratio was 1 in 11.

Full document (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2008

Household Food Security in the United States, 2007

Household Food Security in the United States, 2007
By: Mark Nord, Margaret Andrews, and Steven Carlson
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2007, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (11.1 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year. About one-third of food insecure households (4.1 percent of all U.S. households) had very low food security—meaning that the food intake of one or more adults was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food. Prevalence rates of food insecurity and very low food security were essentially unchanged from those in 2005 and 2006.

Chapters; Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 06, 2008

Teen Pregnancy and Television

RAND Study Is First to Link Viewing of Sexual Content on Television to Subsequent Teen Pregnancy
Source: RAND Corporation

Adolescents who have high levels of exposure to television programs that contain sexual content are twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy over the following three years as their peers who watch few such shows, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The study, published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, is the first to establish a link between teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV and either pregnancies among girls or responsibility for pregnancies among boys.

Full Press Release

Study Brief

Full article citation:
Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth
Anita Chandra, Steven C. Martino, Rebecca L. Collins, Marc N. Elliott, Sandra H. Berry, David E. Kanouse, and Angela Miu
Pediatrics 2008; 122: 1047-1054.
[Abstract] [Full text] [PDF] (requires University of Michigan Authentication)

Posted by ljridley at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

Congressional Hearing on Family Poverty

Leave No Family Behind: How Can We Reduce the Rising Number of American Families Living in Poverty?
Source: U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee
Date: September 25, 2008

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairman and Vice Chair respectively of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), held a hearing on poverty in the United States on Thursday, September 25, 2008 at 10:00 am in Room 562 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The JEC hearing entitled, “Leave No Family Behind: How Can We Reduce the Rising Number of American Families Living in Poverty??, featured Mayor David N. Cicilline and poverty experts who examined whether the outdated federal poverty measurements are preventing resources from reaching families and elderly Americans and what legislation may be appropriate to drastically reduce the number of U.S. families living in poverty. Since 2000, the number of Americans living in poverty jumped by 5.7 million to 37.3 million; and the poverty rate rose to 12.5 percent in 2007.

PDFs of Testimonies and Archived Videos

Posted by ljridley at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2008

Early Academic Competence Linked to Later Depression

Low Academic Competence in First Grade as a Risk Factor for Depressive Cognitions and Symptoms in Middle School
Keith C. Herman, Wendy M. Reinke, Sharon F. Lambert, Nicholas S. Ialongo
Source: Source: Journal of Counseling Psychology

The present study investigated the role of low academic competence in the emergence of depressive cognitions and symptoms. Structural equation modeling was conducted on a longitudinal sample of African American boys (n = 253) and girls (n = 221). Results supported the hypothesized path models from academic competence in 1st grade to depressive symptoms in 7th grade, controlling for a host of correlated constructs (conduct problems, inattention, social problems). Perceived control in 6th grade mediated the effect of academic competence on depressive symptoms. Although the models fit the data well for both boys and girls, the path coefficients were notably larger for girls; in particular, multiple group analysis revealed a statistically stronger effect of low academic competence on perceptions of control for girls. The study and findings fit well with counseling psychologists’ commitment to prevention activities and to culture-specific research. Implications for designing interventions and prevention strategies for children with early academic problems are discussed.

American Psychological Association Press Release
Full text of article (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2007

Births, Marriages, Divorces, and Deaths: Provisional Data for 2007
Source: National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)

Data shown here are provisional and include only events occurring within the United States (50 states and the District of Columbia). Provisional birth, death, and infant death data in this report are based on a combination of counts of events provided by each reporting area and registered vital events processed into National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data files. Some of these may not have occurred in the specified month of this report. Monthly provisional birth, death, and infant death data may be updated during the course of a data year. Updates based on registered events will be included in the month the event occurred. However, updates based on counts received from the states may include the event in the month it was processed rather than the month in which it occurred. This may result in a low figure for a given month followed by a high figure for the month(s) in which the delayed records were processed. Once the provisional data year has ended, updates cease. Thus, provisional birth, death, and infant death data may not accurately track either the preliminary or the final number of events registered.

Full text (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2008

America's Children in Brief

America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2008
Source: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

This year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being report continues the tradition of cooperation and commitment by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of children today and indicate what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. The Forum is already busy planning its next full report, scheduled for 2009.

Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. The Forum alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. This year, the Forum is publishing America's Children in Brief; it will publish the more detailed report in 2009. The Forum updates all indicators and background data on its website (http://childstats.gov) every year.

The Forum fosters coordination and integration among 22 Federal agencies that produce or use statistical data on children and families. The America's Children series provides an accessible compendium of indicators drawn from the most reliable official statistics across topics; it is designed to complement other more specialized, technical, or comprehensive reports produced by various Forum agencies.

The indicators and background measures presented in America's Children in Brief all have been used in previous reports by the Forum. Indicators are chosen because they are easy to understand; are based on substantial research connecting them to child well-being; vary across important areas of children's lives; are measured regularly so that they can be updated and show trends over time; and represent large segments of the population, rather than one particular group. The indicators are organized into seven sections, each focusing on a domain relevant to children's lives: Family and Social Environment, Economic Circumstances, Health Care, Physical Environment and Safety, Behavior, Education, and Health.

Posted by ljridley at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2008

2008 Statistics on Child Welfare

2008 State Fact Sheets from the Child Welfare League of America

The State Fact Sheets provide descriptive information on the condition of vulnerable children in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, using indicators of child protection, health, child care, education, and income support.

Each State is available in PDF or HTML.

Posted by ljridley at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2008

Preteen Crime

Arresting Children: Examining Recent Trends in Preteen Crime
Jeffrey A. Butts, Howard N. Snyder
Source: Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago

Are juvenile offenders getting younger? The American public often hears policymakers and justice practitioners assert that young people are committing crimes at younger and younger ages. Is this true? This analysis explores this question by examining data collected by law enforcement agencies across the country. It tracks juvenile crime patterns from 1980 through 2006 and finds that the age profile of juvenile offenders has not changed substantially in 25 years. Crime rates among children under age 13 have generally followed the same crime patterns exhibited among older youth. In a few offense categories, however, increases in preteen crime have outpaced increases among older juveniles, particularly sexual offenses, assaults, and weapons possession (not necessarily firearms). The fact that school authorities and family members often report these offenses suggests a possible hypothesis to explain increases in some preteen crimes: The juvenile justice system today may be dealing with child behavior problems that were once the responsibility of social welfare agencies, schools, and families.

Full report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Ecological Predictors for Childhood Obesity

Ecological Predictors and Developmental Outcomes of Persistent Childhood Overweight
Sara Gable, Jo Britt-Rankin, and Jennifer L. Krull
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service

Child obesity poses short- and long-term health risks and may have negative social and economic consequences in adulthood. This study uses data on 8,000 children followed from kindergarten through third grade as part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class to examine predictors of persistent childhood overweight and associated academic and socioemotional outcomes. Results show that socioeconomic status, gender, race, and behavioral and environmental factors influence risk of persistent overweight. The odds of children being overweight increased 3 percent for each additional hour of television that they watched per week and 9 percent for each family meal per week that they did not experience. Overweight children progressed less than their nonoverweight peers did in reading and math achievement, with overweight appearing to precede academic difficulties, and were rated lower on academic and socioemotional factors by their teachers and themselves. Academic and social costs should be considered in assessing costs of childhood overweight and potential benefits of overweight prevention.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2008

Penn State's 16th Annual Symposium on Family Issues

"Development of Hispanic Children in Immigrant Families" Challenges and Prospects" is the topic of Penn State's Symposium on Family Issues. The conference will be held October 23-24, 2008.

Information and registration information below:


Posted by lisan at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2008

Kids' Share 2008

Kids' Share 2008: How Children Fare in the Federal Budget
Authors: Adam Carasso, C. Eugene Steuerle, Gillian Reynolds, Tracy Vericker, Jennifer Ehrle Macomber
Source: The Urban Institute

Kids' Share 2008, a second annual report, looks comprehensively at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children. Key findings suggest that historically children have not been a budget priority. In 2007, this trend continued, as children's spending did not keep pace with GDP growth. Absent a policy change, children's spending will continue to be squeezed in the next decade.

Excerpt; Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Trends Among High School Seniors

Trends Among High School Seniors, 1972-2004
Authors: Steven J. Ingels, Ben W. Dalton, and Laura LoGerfo
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Using questionnaire and transcript data collected in 1972, 1980, 1982, 1992, and 2004, this report presents information on five cohorts of high school seniors. The analysis addresses overall trends, as well as trends within various subgroups defined by sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status (SES). Key findings of the report include the following: The proportion of Black seniors who were in the highest SES quartile doubled from 1972 to 1992 (from 5 percent to 10 percent), and increased overall from 5 percent in 1972 to 14 percent in 2004. The percentage of seniors enrolling in calculus during their senior year grew from 6 percent to 13 percent between 1982 and 2004. The percentage of seniors taking no mathematics courses during their senior year declined from 57 percent to 34 percent over this time period. Seniors increased their senior-year enrollment in advanced science courses (chemistry II, physics II, and advanced biology) from 12 percent in 1982 to 25 percent in 2004. In each class of seniors, most of those who planned further schooling intended to attend four-year postsecondary schools, with the proportion of students planning to attend four-year schools rising from 34 percent in 1972 to 61 percent in 2004. In all years, higher percentages of Asian high school seniors, and lower percentages of Hispanic seniors (except in 1992), compared to other racial/ethnic groups, planned attendance at four-year institutions No difference was observed between 1972 and 2004 between the percentage of seniors expecting a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education. Instead, growth between these two time points was greatest in expectations for a graduate or professional degree: 13 percent of seniors expected to attain this level of education as their highest in 1972, compared to 38 percent of seniors in 2004. In 1972, males expected to earn a graduate degree as their highest educational level in greater proportions than did females (16 percent versus 9 percent); however, in 2004, females expected to earn a graduate degree more often than males (45 percent versus 32 percent). Seniors increasingly expected to work in professional occupations (growing from 45 percent of seniors in 1972 to 63 percent of seniors in 2004 expecting to work in a professional field).

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

States Take Action to Alleviate Child and Family Poverty

A National Governors Association Issue Brief Examines State Approaches to Reduce Poverty
Source: NGA Center for Best Practices

As families across the nation face financial hardships and economic insecurity, states continue to lead the way in developing solutions to help families ensure their economic well-being. These efforts are highlighted in a new Issue Brief from the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) titled State Strategies to Reduce Child and Family Poverty.

The brief examines the long-term social and economic costs of poverty for children and families, communities and states. In addition, State Strategies to Reduce Child and Family Poverty explores several policy and program options helping to reduce the negative consequences of poverty for children and increase opportunities for families to achieve economic success.

Press Release
; Full Document (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Census Won't Count Gay Marriages

Census Won't Count Gay Marriages
Christopher Lee | Washington Post

Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California, census officials say that same-sex partners in both states who list themselves as spouses will be recorded as "unmarried partners" -- just as they were in the 2000 census.

Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner cited the Defense of Marriage Act, approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing as a marriage the union of anyone but a man and a woman.

Posted by lisan at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2008

Education Disparities

Under-privileged children also disadvantaged in the classroom
Edited by Yanhong Zhang, T. Neville Postlethwaite, Aletta Grisay
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

A new UIS study highlights the strong effect of social inequality on primary education systems in many countries and the challenge to provide all children with equal learning opportunities.

Entitled A View Inside Primary Schools, the report presents the results of a unique survey undertaken in 11 countries* in Latin America, Asia and North Africa. As part of the World Education Indicators (WEI) programme, the countries were involved in developing and conducting the survey to examine the factors shaping the quality and equality of primary education.

* Argentina, Brazil, Chile, India, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Uruguay participated in the survey.

Executive Summary; Full Report

Posted by ljridley at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

Transition from Foster Care

Youth Transitioning From Foster Care: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress
Adrienne L. Fernandes
Source: Congressional Research Service (via OpenCRS)

Nearly half of states have laws that explicitly permit the state child welfare system to continue providing foster care for children beyond the age of majority (usually no later than 19). However, the number of states that actually facilitate youth remaining in care beyond their 18th or 19th birthdays is significantly smaller. Over 20,000 young people have been emancipated from foster care annually from FY2002 through FY2006. While most young people have access to emotional and financial support systems throughout their early adult years, older youth in care and those who age out of care often face obstacles to developing independent living skills and building supports that ease the transition to adulthood. Older foster youth who return to their parents or guardians may continue to experience poor family dynamics or a lack of emotional and financial supports, and studies have shown that recently emancipated foster youth fare poorly relative to their counterparts in the general population on several outcome measures.

Recognizing the difficulties faced by older youth in care and youth emancipating from foster care, Congress created a new Independent Living initiative (P.L. 99-272) in 1986 to assist certain older foster youth as they enter adulthood. The legislation authorized mandatory funding to states under a new Section 477 of the Social Security Act. In 1999, the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Act (P.L. 106169) replaced the Independent Living Program with the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) and doubled the total annual funds available to states from $70 million to $140 million. The law also expanded the population of youth eligible to receive independent living services — with no lower age limit — and gave states greater flexibility in designing independent living programs. Independent living services can refer to assistance in obtaining a high school diploma, training in daily living skills, and training in financial management, among other services. Amendments to the CFCIP in FY2002 (P.L. 107-133) authorized discretionary funding for states to provide education and training vouchers to eligible youth.

Along with the CFCIP, federal child welfare law and other federal programs are intended to help older current youth in care and foster care alumni make the transition to adulthood. The federal foster care program has protections in place to ensure that older youth in care have a written case plan that addresses the programs and services that will assist in this transition, among other supports. Further, federal law authorizes funding for states to provide workforce assistance and housing to older foster youth. Despite these efforts and the resilience displayed by current and former foster youth, policymakers and child welfare practitioners have suggested that at a minimum, young people need better support to build stronger connections with caring adults before leaving foster care and should have the option to remain in care upon reaching their 18th or 19th birthdays. Several bills have been introduced in the 110th Congress that propose greater assistance to older youth in foster care and those who have aged out, including legislation to provide federal foster care assistance for youth age 18 and older. This report will be updated as warranted.

Full Report (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 03, 2008

Employment Characteristics of Families in 2007

Employment Characteristics of Families in 2007
News release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 30, 2008)

In 2007, the share of families with an unemployed member was 6.3 per-
cent, little changed from the prior year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The proportion of families with an unemployed member remained lower than the recent peak of 8.1 percent in 2003. Of the nation’s 77.9 million families, the proportion that had at least one employed member was little changed in 2007 at 82.6 percent.

These data on employment, unemployment, and family relationships are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of approximately 60,000 households. Families include married-couple families, as well as families maintained by a man or woman with no spouse present.

PDF of News Release

Posted by ljridley at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

Tobacco Sales to Minors Drop During Past 11 Years

Federal State Program Continues to Report a Dramatic Nationwide Drop in Tobacco Sales to Minors During the Past 11 Years
Source: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (HHS)

Illegal sales of tobacco products to underage youth have reached an all-time low under the Synar Amendment program, a federal-state partnership program aimed at ending illegal tobacco sales to minors, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced today.

The national average of illegal tobacco sales to minors has dropped since the program’s inception from 40.1 percent in fiscal year 1997 to 10.5 percent in fiscal year 2007, the report said.

Nearly all states and the District of Columbia have achieved a major Synar program goal – having 20 percent or less of their state’s tobacco product retailers engaging in illegal sales of tobacco to minors. These levels stand in sharp contrast with the situation 11 years ago at the Synar program’s inception, when only four states met this goal.

More than half of the states were able to drive down levels of illegal retail sales of tobacco to minors to 10 percent or less in fiscal year 2007. Mississippi reported the nation’s lowest level of illegal sales of tobacco products to minors (3.2 percent), while Massachusetts reported the highest (22.7 percent).

The SAMHSA report notes that the successful implementation of the Synar Amendment program (named for the late U.S. Rep. Mike Synar of Oklahoma) relied on vigorous enforcement, supportive public policies and development of social climates discouraging youth tobacco use.

+ FY 2007 Annual Synar Reports: State Compliance (PDF)

Posted by ljridley at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

Marriage and Divorce Since WWII

Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households
Jeremy Greenwood and Nezih Guner
Penn State Population Studies Center Working Paper

Since World War II there has been: (i) a rise in the fraction of time that married households allocate to market work, (ii) an increase in the rate of divorce, and (iii) a decline in the rate of marriage. It is argued here that labor-saving technological progress in the household sector can explain these facts. This makes it more feasible for singles to maintain their own home, and for married women to work. To address this question, a search model of marriage and divorce, which incorporates household production, is developed. An extension looks back at the prewar era.


Posted by ljridley at 03:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2008

Costs of Child Poverty

State-by-State Costs of Child Poverty in the U.S.
Kelvin Pollard
Source: Population Reference Bureau

(May 2008) Research has shown that growing up in poverty leads to negative health, social, and economic consequences for children that often continue in adulthood. Compared with other children, children living below the poverty line are less healthy, have lower educational achievement, and are more likely to become involved with the criminal justice system. As adults, they are less likely to attend college or hold a steady job.

In 2006, an estimated 13.3 million U.S. children were living in poverty, and at risk for such lifelong problems. But the individual hardships brought by poverty also exact a staggering financial toll on broader society. One recent estimate has suggested that growing up in poverty costs the United States $500 billion annually in lost potential earnings, involvement with the criminal justice system, and the costs associated with poor health outcomes.1

Taking its cue from that cost estimate, as well as campaigns in some states designed to reduce poverty, the KIDS COUNT project in Washington state (affiliated with the University of Washington's Human Services Poverty Center) has produced state-level estimates of the costs of child poverty. By taking the national estimate of child poverty costs and applying it to the estimated the number of poor children in each state in the 2006 American Community Survey, the study estimates the amount that each state would save annually if child poverty were eliminated.

In 14 states, child poverty yielded an annual cost of more than $10 billion, according to the fact sheet issued by Washington KIDS COUNT. Not surprisingly, the most populous states tended to have the highest annual costs (see map)—mainly because they tend to have the largest numbers of children in poverty. California, with an estimated 1.7 million poor children in 2006, had the highest cost of $63.9 billion, followed by Texas at $57.5 billion and New York at $33.4 billion. Even in the smallest state, Wyoming, growing up poor yields an annual cost of about $500 million.

Posted by ljridley at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

Sexual & Reproductive Health in the Middle East & North Africa

Sexual & Reproductive Health in the Middle East and North Africa: A Guide for Reporters
Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi and Lori Ashford
Source: Population Reference Bureau

(May 2008) Sexual and reproductive health is a broad concept encompassing health and well-being in matters related to sexual relations, pregnancies, and births. It deals with the most intimate and private aspects of people's lives, which can be difficult to write about or discuss publicly, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Published by the Population Reference Bureau, Sexual & Reproductive Health in the Middle East and North Africa: A Guide for Reporters aims to bring together the latest available data on sexual and reproductive health for countries in the MENA region. It was written for journalists, to help them educate the public and make the case for policymakers that poor sexual and reproductive health contributes to social inequalities and hinders social and economic development.

"This is the first time that material on sexual and reproductive health has been put together in one, easy-to-read resource for the Middle East and North Africa," noted Farzaneh Roudi-Fahimi, a co-author of the guide. "We hope that reporters, educators, and others will refer to it in their work and use it to expand the dialogue on these extremely important development topics."

Cultural sensitivities and taboos surrounding sexuality are particularly pronounced in the MENA region, and make the role of the media vital in providing objective information about sexual and reproductive health matters. The media has the power to break the culture of silence that surrounds sexual and reproductive health, a silence that all too often prevents people from seeking information and care and prevents governments from putting the issues on their development agendas. Journalists can report responsibly and objectively on these issues to break taboos, educate the public, and bring the issues to policymakers' attention.

The guide covers these topics: marriage, childbearing, family planning, maternal health, abortion, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, adolescents and young adults, female genital cutting, and cervical cancer. There is also a chapter on health and development goals, as well as three appendices on population and reproductive health indicators by country, a glossary, and sources of information.

This guide was funded by the Ford Foundation office in Cairo.


Posted by ljridley at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2008

Mothers and Government Assistance

Participation of Mothers in Government Assistance Programs: 2004
By: Jane Lawler Dye
Source: U.S. Census, Household Economic Studies

Although participation in government assistance programs has risen somewhat in recent years among mothers with a birth in the last year, it is much lower than when welfare reform was enacted in 1996, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report, Participation of Mothers in Government Assistance Programs: 2004 [PDF], analyzes the socioeconomic characteristics of mothers participating in six different public assistance programs. These include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); food stamps; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); Medicaid; housing assistance; and other assistance. It shows that in 1996, 42 percent of mothers with a birth in the previous year were participants in at least one of these programs. The rate dipped to 29 percent in 2001 before climbing to 34 percent in 2004. The corresponding number, 1.6 million in 1996, dipped to 1.2 million in 2001 before rising to 1.4 million in 2004 .

Overall, 7.5 million mothers of childbearing age (15 to 44), or 22 percent, participated in one or more of these programs in 2004. Those with infants were more likely participants than those with older children (34 percent compared with 20 percent).

Mothers were also more likely to receive public assistance if they were younger than 25, living with either no other adult or with an unmarried partner, a minority, did not work in the past month, never attended college, or did not receive child support.


Posted by ljridley at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Medicaid Care for Children

Medicaid Managed Care for Children in Child Welfare
Kamala Allen
Center for Health Care Strategies, Inc.

Children in the child welfare system have an extremely high prevalence of physical and behavioral health problems. This issue brief examines the complex physical and behavioral health care needs and associated costs for children in child welfare and outlines critical opportunities and challenges within Medicaid to better manage care for this high-risk, high-cost population.


Posted by ljridley at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

Economics and Early Childhood Policy

What Does Economics Tell Us About Early Childhood Policy?
By: M. Rebecca Kilburn, Lynn A. Karoly
RAND Research Brief

This research brief describes how insights from the field of economics — human capital theory and monetary payoffs — provide science-based guidance for early childhood policy.


Posted by ljridley at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

State Children’s Health Insurance Program

Covering Uninsured Children in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
Source: Congressional Budget Office (Testimony)

SCHIP has significantly reduced the number of low-income children who lack health insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) estimates, the portion of children in families with income between 100 percent and 200 percent of the poverty level who were uninsured fell by about 25 percent between 1996 (the year before SCHIP was enacted) and 2006. In contrast, the rate of uninsurance among higher-income children remained relatively stable during that period. The difference probably reflects the impact of the SCHIP program.

Posted by ljridley at 04:03 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2008

Religion and Fertility

Religious affiliation, religiosity, and male and female fertility (PDF)
Li Zhang
Demographic Research, 18(8)

Religious studies of fertility typically focus on the effect of religious affiliation on fertility; the role of religiosity in determining fertility remains overlooked. Meanwhile, most studies focus on studying female fertility; whether religion and religiosity have significantly different impacts on men’s and women’s fertility rarely has been examined. To fill these gaps, this study uses data from the 2002 NSFG Cycle 6 on religious affiliation, religiosity, and children ever born (CEB) for both men and women to investigate the effects of religious affiliation and religiosity on male and female fertility. A series of hypotheses which aim to demonstrate the critical role of religiosity, particularly the importance of religious beliefs in people’s daily life in shaping people’s fertility behavior are tested. The findings show a shrinking pattern of fertility differentials among religious groups. However, religiosity, particularly religious beliefs, shows a substantially positive effect on fertility. The gender interaction terms are not significant which indicates that the effects of religion and religiosity on fertility do not vary by gender.

Posted by ljridley at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2008

"Squeezed: How Costs for Insuring Families are Outpacing Income A State-By-State Analysis

This article reveals how the cost of family health insurance nationwide is increasing dramatically for employees without anywhere near an equivalent increase in family income. If this trend continues, more workers are likely to become uninsured because of the expense.


Posted by sbriske at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2008

Sex selective abortions in India

Indian Prime Minister denounces Abortion of Females
Amelia Gentleman | NY TIMES
April 29, 2008

Story based on an article in Lancet:
Low male-to-female sex ratio of children born in India: national survey of 1.1 million households
Lancet 2006 (January): pages 211-218

Posted by lisan at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2008

The Opium Brides of Afghanistan

The Opium Brides of Afghanistan
By Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau | NEWSWEEK
April 7, 2008

Posted by lisan at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

The Curious Lives of Surrogates

The Curious Lives of Surrogates
Lorraine Ali and Raina Kelley | NEWSWEEK
April 7, 2008

Posted by lisan at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

Single Mothers in China

Single Mothers in China Forge a Difficult Path
Howard French | NY TIMES
April 6, 2008

Posted by lisan at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2008

Child Poverty and Family Economic Hardship

Child Poverty and Family Economic Hardship: 10 Important Questions
Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

The experiences of children and families who face economic hardship are far from uniform. Some families experience hard times for brief spells while a small minority experience chronic poverty. For some, the greatest challenge is inadequate financial resources, whether insufficient income to meet daily expenses or the necessary assets (savings, a home) to get ahead. For others, economic hardship is compounded by social isolation. These differences in the severity and depth of poverty matter, especially when it comes to the effects on children.

Posted by ljridley at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2008

Re-housing the poor in their original neighborhoods

Washington's Grand Experiment to Rehouse the Poor
Erik Eckholm
March 21, 2008
New York Times
Citing a “moral goal,? the District of Columbia is preserving low-income housing by replacing dangerous projects with new communities that mix the poor with higher income residents.

For more information on the HOPE VI, program, see:

Popkin, Susan, Bruce Katz, Mary Cunningham, Karen Brown, Jeremy Gustafson, and Margery Turner. 2004. "A Decade of HOPE VI : Research Findings and Policy Challenges." Urban Institute: Washington, D.C.

Posted by lisan at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2008

Surrogate mothers – India, Japan, and a blog with comments

Japan's surrogate mothers emerge from shadows
Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:52pm EDT

India Nurtures Business of Surrogate Motherhood
Published: March 10, 2008
Reproductive outsourcing is a new but rapidly expanding business, as word spreads of India’s mix of skilled medical professionals, relatively liberal laws and low prices.

Outsourced Wombs
Judith Warner
January 3, 2008
[blog commenting on India article, with reader comments]

Posted by lisan at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2008

Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005

From Census Bureau

Relatives regularly provide child care to almost half of the more than 19 million preschoolers, according to tabulations released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Fathers and grandparents were the primary relative child care providers.

The series of tables, Who’s Minding the Kids? Child Care Arrangements: Spring 2005, showed that among the 11.3 million children younger than 5 whose mothers were employed, 30 percent were cared for on a regular basis by a grandparent during their mother’s working hours. A slightly greater percentage spent time in an organized care facility, such as a day care center, nursery or preschool. Meanwhile, 25 percent received care from their fathers, 3 percent from siblings and 8 percent from other relatives when mothers went to work.

Posted by yanfu at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)