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News Release 97-048

New "Child Indicators" Report Offers Data to Track Children's Well-Being

July 2, 1997

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The Federal Agency Forum on Child and Family Statistics released today, in Washington, D.C., a new report that offers a composite picture of the well-being of the nation's children.

America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, presents 25 key indicators on critical aspects of children's lives, including their behavior and social environment, economic security, education, and health.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is one of eight agencies contributing to the new report.

"This highly informative report on our nation's children represents an important new use of statistical information available from many sources in the federal government," says Bennett Bertenthal, a cognitive development psychologist and head of NSF's Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.

"As researchers, we know that data measuring our children's lives are like individual stars; only by studying the stars, or statistics, in relation to each other, do we begin to see important patterns - a constellation that is far greater than the sum of its parts," says Bertenthal. "By combining information on numerous topics, this report enables us to gain a better perspective on the whole of our children's lives, and to understand how each facet is related to the others.

"The value of the report will be realized in future years, as we monitor these and other indicators to learn how children's lives are changing with changes in their environments," Bertenthal says.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics was founded in 1994 and formally established by Executive Order 13045 to foster coordination and collaboration in the collection and reporting of Federal data on children and families. Statistical agencies within the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Management and Budget.


For copies of the full report, contact the National Maternal and Child Health Bureau Clearinghouse, (703) 356-1964, or see the National Center for Health Statistics home page:

America's Children: Data Resources

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds a number of studies on the well-being of children and periodically issues several related statistical reports. An entire directorate of NSF is devoted to Education and Human Resources, and many research programs within the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences pertain to child development.

Statistical Reports

Reports may be accessed via the World Wide Web. For printed copies, send e-mail request to, a fax to (703)644-4278, or written request to: NSF Forms and Publications Unit, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Room P-15, Arlington VA 22230, specifying the NSF publication number and your mailing address.

  • NSF 96-52 Indicators of Science & Mathematics Education 1995
    Parent and student profiles (education, languages, race/ethnic origin), student proficiency in science and mathematics, and their learning environment (high school graduating credits, teacher profiles).

  • NSB 96-21 Science & Engineering Indicators 1996
    National assessment of educational progress, changes in proficiencies by sex and race/ethnicity, state comparisons, impact of high school science and engineering course work on transitions to college and employment, science literacy, computer access for the next generation.

  • NSF 96-311 Women, Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering 1996
    Comparative data on representation and achievement in education, factors influencing achievement, family background, characteristics of schools, students with disabilities, transition to higher education.

  • Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)
    International comparative results, produced by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement, and funded in part by NSF.

Research Centers and Programs

  • NSF National Consortium on Violence Research
    Based at Carnegie Mellon University, directed by Alfred Blumstein, this is a cross-disciplinary effort aimed at understanding the causes of violence.
    (412) 268-8269,

  • The Panel Study of Income Dynamics
    Based at the University of Michigan, directed by Sandra Hofferth and Frank Stafford, this study tracks individual and family income sources and amounts, employment, family composition changes (economic effects of divorce on children), and residential data. NSF is the study's major funding source.
    (313) 763-5166,

  • National Bureau of Economic Research
    Based at Harvard University, directed by Martin Feldstein, this is a network of researchers studying the economics of family. Visitors to its Web site can access NBER discussion papers on the family. Many of the articles that appear in the NBER Digest on research results are from NSF supported projects.
    (617) 868-3900,

  • NSF Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences
    Social Psychology research program, Human Cognition and Perception research program, Division for Science Resources Studies.

  • NSF Directorate for Education and Human Resources
    Education systemic reform initiative, elementary and secondary education research, International Mathematics and Science Study, and links to initiatives such as the Urban School Superintendents Coalition.

Media Contacts
George Chartier, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

Program Contacts
Jeanne Griffith, NSF, (703) 292-8780, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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