Trends in African American Child Well-Being: 1985-2001

Vicki L. Lamb, Duke University
Kenneth C. Land, Duke University
Sarah O. Meadows, Duke University

This paper describes trajectories of change in African American child well-being from 1985 to 2001 and compares such trajectories with those for all U.S. children. We use 25 nationally representative time series of demographic and social indicators, which have been categorized into seven domains of well-being: material, health, safety/behavioral, education, place in community, social relationships, and emotional/spiritual. A number of the African American domain trends initially decline until 1993, and then show great improvement. The safety/behavioral, place in community, and material domains each exhibit improvements of over 20% compared to 1985 levels. The health and emotional domains also have upward trajectories. The U.S. trends show less fluctuation over the period under study, and except for safety/behavioral concerns, the 2001 improvements are rather modest. Despite the improvements in African American child well-being, there remain serious racial disparities that are addressed throughout the paper.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being