Child Well-Being: An Index Based on Data of Individual Children

Research BriefMay 3 2011

Monitoring child well-being over time or across states can be complex and daunting, but tracking a small number of indicators can make this more feasible. Yet, this is risky if summary indices overlook critical aspects of child well-being. For this brief, we developed research-based indices of child well-being for four child outcome domains (physical, psychological, social, and cognitive/educational) from the 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health. For each of the four domains, we produced an index of negative development and an index of positive development. In addition, we created an overall positive index and an overall negative index. Indices are reported for each state and for the U.S. as a whole.