Child Well-Being

Child Well-Being

From our start more than 30 years ago, Child Trends has studied and reported on the well-being of children and youth. Our work in this area influences policies and practices in the U.S. and around the world. For us, child well-being is multi-dimensional and best measured over time. We look at positive and negative indicators that assess well-being across outcomes, behaviors and processes. We also review indicators that cover children of all ages from birth to their transition to adulthood. Our aim is to provide child well-being indicators that are easily and readily understood by policymakers, practitioners, and the public.

You can search our DataBank by topic and by the stages of children’s lives to examine trends and statistics measuring child well-being.

Featured Publications

Positive and Protective Factors in Adolescent Well-Being

Jan 2014 | Laura H. Lippman; Renee Ryberg; Mary Terzian; Kristin A. Moore; Jill Humble; Hugh McIntosh

In this chapter of the "Handbook of Child Well-Being" (starting on page 2823 of the book), the authors posit that research on positive and protective factors is essential to a balanced, comprehensive approach to the study of child and adolescent well-being. Human development encompasses both positive and negative developmental processes, and to focus solely on the negative is scientifically inappropriate.

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Indices of Child Well-Being and Developmental Contexts

Jan 2014 | Kristin Anderson Moore; David Muphey; Tawana Bandy; Elizabeth Lawner

In this chapter of the "Handbook of Child Well-Being" (starting on page 2807 of the book), the authors describe their construction of indices of both positive and negative well-being, using micro data from the 2007 U.S. National Survey of Children’s Health. In addition, they present both positive and negative indices of the contexts of children’s development. Both the child well-being and the contextual indices are composed of multiple domains that reflect a social-ecological perspective.

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What is Child Well-being?: Does It Matter How We Measure It?

Nov 2013 | Kristin A. Moore

This talk was presented on November 7, 2013 to the National Council on Family Relations' Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Moore explained why it's necessary to focus on the positive and why rigorous, accurate measures of child well-being are needed.

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Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families

Jul 2013 | David Murphey

When a parent goes to war, families are deeply affected. Young children may be especially vulnerable to adverse outcomes, because of their emotional dependence on adults and their developing brains’ susceptibility to high levels of stress. Nearly half-a-million children younger than six have an active-duty parent—and some have two.

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