The infant mortality rate, the preterm birth rate and the adolescent birth rate continued to decline, according to a report from the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. The report also showed that average mathematics scores increased for students in the fourth and eighth grades, and the violent crime victimization rate among adolescents fell, as did the number of children living in a home where someone smoked.
“This year’s report contains good news about newborns,” said Alan E. Guttmacher, MD, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Fewer infants were born preterm and fewer died in the first year of life.”
The report, “America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012,” was compiled by a work group of 22 federal agencies that produce and use data on issues related to children and families, according to the NIH.
“The findings in this report, drawn from many outstanding data systems across the federal spectrum, allow us to track key progress in the fight against many major public health threats, such as meningitis, for example,” said Edward Sondik, PhD, director of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. “The report shows that in the last 5 years there has been more than a fivefold increase in the percent of adolescents who have received the vaccination that helps prevent meningococcal disease — a serious bacterial illness and leading cause for the most dangerous form of meningitis.”
Also included in this year’s report:
- Adolescent births decreased from 20 per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 17 years in 2009 to 17 per 1,000 in 2010.
- The number of infants born before 37 weeks’ gestation (preterm) decreased from 12.2% in 2009 to 12% in 2010.
- The number of deaths before a child’s first birthday decreased from 6.4 per 1,000 births in 2009 to 6.1 per 1,000 births in 2010.
- The percentage of children aged 0 to 17 years living with at least one parent unemployed full time, year round decreased from 72% in 2009 to 71% in 2010.
- The percentage of children aged 0 to 17 years living in households classified by the US Department of Agriculture as “food insecure” decreased from 23% in 2009 to 22% in 2010.
- Vaccination coverage with one dose or more of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine for adolescents aged 13 to 17 years increased from 12% in 2006 to 63% in 2010.
- The number of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years who were victims of serious violent crimes fell from 11 per 1,000 adolescents in 2009 to seven per 1,000 adolescents in 2010.
- The percentage of children aged 0 to 6 years living in a home where someone smoked regularly decreased from 8.4% in 2005 to 6.1% in 2010.
- Average mathematics scores increased for students in the fourth and eighth grades by one point from 2009 to 2011.
- The percentage of adolescents aged 16 to 19 years neither enrolled in high school or college nor working decreased from 9% in 2010 to 8% in 2011.
- The percentage of children aged 0 to 17 years living in counties in which levels of one or more air pollutants were above allowable levels increased from 59% in 2009 to 67% in 2010.