Children's exposure to secondhand smoke is down, but binge drinking among high school seniors is up. And the total number of kids in the USA declined slightly between 2011 and 2012, as did the percentage of the population under age 18.
Those are just some of the findings featured in the federal government's annual statistical compilation on the health of the nation's children and youth, released today.
The report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2013, is compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a collection of 22 federal agencies, with private research partners. The report, the 16th in an ongoing series, pulls together data highlighting key measures of children's lives in seven areas, from health care to economic circumstances, education and social environment.
Among findings in this year's report:
• The percentage of kids ages 4-11 with any detectable level of blood cotinine, an indicator of recent exposure to secondhand smoke, declined from 53% in 2007-08 to 42% in 2009-10.
• Binge drinking (consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past two weeks) among 12th-graders rose from 22% in 2011 to 24% in 2012.
• The percentage of kids ages 17 and under living with at least one parent employed full time year-round, rose from 71% in 2010 to 73% in 2011.
• Overall, there were 73.7 million children ages 17 and under in the USA in 2012, accounting for almost 23.5% percent of the population. That's down from 73.9 million, accounting for 23.5% in 2011.
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau also show that by 2050, about half of the U.S. population under age 17 is projected to be children who are Hispanic, Asian, or of two or more races. Among children under age 17, 36% will be Hispanic (up from 24% in 2012); 6% will be Asian (up from 5% in 2012); and 7% will be of two or more races (up from 4% in 2012).
Michelle Healy, USA TODAY