As children from minority populations gradually become the majority in the United States, the country must address unequal outcomes and opportunities between racial and ethnic groups to ensure a prosperous future, a report released this month says.
For its report, the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation created a new index that uses 12 educational, health, and economic factors to rank how children from major racial and ethnic groups fare in every state.
“It is clear that children of color—especially African-Americans, American Indians, and Latinos—are in serious trouble in numerous issue areas and in nearly every region,” the report says.
If the United States had closed the academic achievement gap between African-American and Latino students and their white peers by 1998, the country’s gross domestic product in 2008 would have been up to $525 billion higher, the report says, citing a 2009 estimate by the management-consulting firm McKinsey & Co.
The state-by-state rankings are similar to the foundation’s popular “Kids Count Data Book,” but the new report disaggregates the data by race, presenting state snapshots to inform policy discussions. The index factors include: low-birthweight births, preschool enrollment, 4th grade reading proficiency, the share of children who live in areas where the poverty rate is less than 20 percent, and on-time high school graduation rates.
Nationally, Asian and Pacific Islander children fared the best under the index, followed closely by white children. African-American children fared the worst, slightly behind American Indian children.
A version of this article appeared in the April 16, 2014 edition of Education Week as New Child Well-Being Index Spotlights Racial Disparities