On Tuesday, April 1, The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AEC) released, “Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children,” a new report and data on how children of color are faring overall and in each state. By 2018, children of color will represent the majority of children in the United States. The report highlights serious concerns that African-American, Latino, Native American and some subgroups of Asian-American children face profound barriers to success.
The policy report was presented at a forum in the National Archives. According to AEC President and CEO, Patrick McCarthy, “This first-time index shows that many in our next generation, especially kids of color, are off track in many issue areas and in nearly every region of the country.” He also said the report, “is a call to action that requires serious and sustained attention from the private, nonprofit, philanthropic and government sectors to create equitable opportunities.” The unveiling included an overview of some of the findings and a panel discussion of what the report shows and how to address what are clearly barriers for many children of color in many states.
The index is based on 12 indicators that measure a child’s success in each stage of life, from birth to adulthood. The indicators were chosen based on the goal that all children should grow up in economically successful families, live in supportive communities and meet developmental, health and educational milestones. Some of the data points reviewed included birth weights, access to pre-kindergarten, grade scores for fourth and eighth graders, graduation rates, poverty related factors and disconnected youth at ages 19 through 26. Based on the formula constructed from data, the report indicates how each state ranked by category of children of color.
- In regard to African American children, the top three states are Hawaii, New Hampshire and Utah while the bottom three states are Michigan, Mississippi and Wisconsin.
- In regard to American Indian children, the top three states are Texas, Alabama, and Florida with the bottom three states being Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota—although data was lacking for Native America children in half the states.
- In regard to Asian and Pacific Islander children (a group that had the highest rankings), the top three states are Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland while the bottom three are Hawaii, Rhode Island and Alaska.
- In regard to Latino children, the top states are Alaska, New Hampshire and Hawaii while Nevada, Rhode Island and Alabama rank at the bottom.
Panelists and representatives from AEC argued that America’s future prosperity depends on our ability to prepare all children to achieve their full potential in life. If African American and Latino children’s outcomes were equal to those of white children, then the gross domestic product of the United States would be several hundred billion dollars greater in 2008. Overall, the index shows that at the national level, no one racial group has all children meeting all milestones. Using a single composite score placed on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest), Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest index score at 776 followed by white children at 704. Scores for Latino (404), American-Indian (387) and African-American (345) children are significantly lower with the pattern holding true in almost all states.