Indicator List for Positive Indicators

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Child Trends is a leader in long-term efforts to conceptualize and measure positive indicators for children and adolescents. Child Trends has developed rigorous national indicators of flourishing among children and youth for inclusion in national surveys, research studies, and program evaluations. Read about our Positive Indicators Project.

Indicator List for Positive Indicators



There has been substantial progress in recent years in getting mothers in the U.S. to breastfeed their infants, and the latest available national data have met Healthy People 2010 goals, but not those for 2020.


Condom Use

Six in ten high school students who are sexually active reported they used condoms at their most recent sexual intercourse. Condom use among this group increased from 46 percent in 1991, to 63 percent in 2003, and was 59 percent in 2013.


Early Childhood Program Enrollment

The proportion of three- to six-year-old children (not yet in kindergarten) who attended center-based early childhood care and education programs increased from 55 to 61 percent between 2007 and 2012. Gains were particularly high for Hispanic children.


Early School Readiness

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Household Education Survey (NHES), “School Readiness Parent Interview,” 1993, “Parent Interview,” 1999, and “School Readiness Survey,” 2007.


Family Meals

Children in poorer families, and those whose parents had less education, are more likely to have meals together with their families than are children with wealthier or more educated parents.


Measures of Flourishing

Among the characteristics associated with optimal development are positive relationships, curiosity, interest and persistence in learning, and resilience. Children and youth who are female, white, or more affluent more frequently demonstrate these qualities, according to their parents.


Parental Involvement in Schools

The percentage of students whose parents reported involvement in their schools rose significantly between 1999 and 2007 across several measures, including attendance at a general meeting, a meeting with a teacher, or a school event, and volunteering or serving on a committee. However, these proportions fell or remained the same in 2012.