Indicator List for Demographics


Demographic indicators describe the essential structural features of children’s experience. The DataBank is user-friendly and directed to policymakers, program providers, and funders.

Indicator List for Demographics


Adopted Children

Overall, adopted children in the U.S. fare about as well as children in the general population.  However, many adopted children bring to their new families a history of adverse early experiences that may make them more vulnerable to developmental risks.

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Children in Poverty

In 2010, more than one in five children (22 percent) lived in families with incomes below the poverty line, the highest level since 1993; by 2014, this had fallen to 21 percent. Black and Hispanic children, children living in single-mother families, and children under five are even more likely to be poor.


Dual Language Learners

Nearly one in three U.S. children lives in a household where a language other than English is spoken. Dual language learners have the potential to excel in an increasingly diverse society. However, their academic achievement lags behind that of children whose home language is English.


Educational Attainment

Among 25- to 29-year olds, the proportions who have attained a high school education, some college, or a bachelor’s degree are all rising, according to long-term trends. However, despite progress, in 2013, only a third of this population had a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Family Structure

The proportion of children living with both parents, following a marked decline between 1970 and 1990, has fallen more slowly over the most recent two decades, dropping from 69 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2012. By 2015, the proportion had actually increased, to 65 percent.


Fertility and Birth Rates

 In 2011, the birth rate for women ages 15 to 29 continued to decline across all age groups, following a small peak in 2007.  The fertility rate for all U. S. women is now the lowest it has been since these data have been recorded. 


Immigrant Children

The population of first- and second-generation immigrant children in the United States grew by 51 percent between 1995 and 2014, to 18.7 million, or one-quarter of all U.S. children.


Life Expectancy

Recent years have seen steady gains in life expectancy overall; the life expectancy at birth of black males, in particular, has markedly improved.  However, disparities by gender, race, and income persist.


Number of Children

In 2014, there were nearly 74 million children younger than 18 in the United States. The child population will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, though it will account for a smaller share of the total population, as adults live longer and birth rates decline.

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