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America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2008

child eating an appleThis year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being report continues the tradition of cooperation and commitment by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of children today and indicate what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. The Forum is already busy planning its next full report, scheduled for 2009.

Katherine K. Wallman, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget

Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. The Forum alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. This year, the Forum is publishing America's Children in Brief; it will publish the more detailed report in 2009. The Forum updates all indicators and background data on its website ( every year.

The Forum fosters coordination and integration among 22 Federal agencies that produce or use statistical data on children and families. The America's Children series provides an accessible compendium of indicators drawn from the most reliable official statistics across topics; it is designed to complement other more specialized, technical, or comprehensive reports produced by various Forum agencies.

The indicators and background measures presented in America's Children in Brief all have been used in previous reports by the Forum. Indicators are chosen because they are easy to understand; are based on substantial research connecting them to child well-being; vary across important areas of children's lives; are measured regularly so that they can be updated and show trends over time; and represent large segments of the population, rather than one particular group. The indicators are organized into seven sections, each focusing on a domain relevant to children's lives: Family and Social Environment, Economic Circumstances, Health Care, Physical Environment and Safety, Behavior, Education, and Health.