The lives of America’s children have not improved much since 2002, even though federal spending on domestic programs has increased since that time, according to the 2008 Child Well-Being Index, released by the New York City-based Foundation for Child Development.
A comprehensive measure of how children are faring in the United States, the index focuses on 28 indicators in seven categories, such as economic well-being, educational attainment, health, and safety.
Comparing today’s adolescents with their parents’ generation—late baby boomers who were adolescents themselves when the index began in 1975—the report finds that this decade’s teenagers are less likely to engage in risky behavior and less likely to die from accidents. But they are more likely to be obese or overweight, and slightly more likely to live below the poverty line than their parents were at the same age.
A version of this article appeared in the July 30, 2008 edition of Education Week