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News Delaware adds more than 38,000 children since 1990 and gains ground in economic well-being for children

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The Annie E. Casey's 30th KIDS COUNT Data Book provides the most comprehensive annual report on child well-being in the United States
Since 1990, Delaware's child population has grown 23%. Let's invest in our shared future.

Delaware is now home to 38,856 more children since 1990, part of a nationwide growth according to data released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. With this increase in the youth population, greater investments are necessary to expand access to early childhood education, ensuring every Delaware child a foundation for later learning and success. The 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book – the most comprehensive annual report on child well-being in the United States – notes measurable progress since the first Data Book, which was published in 1990. Still, more than 13 million U.S. children live in poverty, and serious racial and ethnic disparities persist.

“Today, Delaware’s youngest residents are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation ever,” said Janice Barlow, director of KIDS COUNT in Delaware. “We know that targeting policy to the varied needs of a diverse population simultaneously is a challenge. However, the payoffs, both economically and morally, are well worth the work.”

The KIDS COUNT Data Book shows how essential accurate data is to sound policymaking. The 2010 census missed more than 2 million of America’s youngest residents — the age group with the highest likelihood to be missed. Gaining an accurate count of young children must be a priority. The stakes are high: federal programs allocate $800 billion a year across the United States based on census-derived statistics, $160 billion of which goes to programs that help kids thrive.

Delaware rankings in national 2019 Data Book

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being and family and community — as an assessment of child well-being. Delaware ranks:

  • 25th in economic well-being. Delaware families have experienced some progress in economic security, with a 28 percent decrease in the percentage of children living in households that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. However, the percentage of children living in poverty has remained unchanged since 2010.
  • 26th in education. In Delaware, 51 percent of children ages 3 and 4 do not attend school, leaving room for improvement as even small disparities in the early years can have significant and long-lasting impacts on children's development that can widen over time.
  • 22nd in health. With only 3 percent of children uninsured, health coverage — including from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program — continues to be a bright spot in Delaware's efforts to keep kids healthy.
  • 30th in the family and community domain. Teen birth rates are at an all-time low nationwide, and Delaware has seen a 42 percent decrease since 2010, with a rate of 18 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19.
Good health is the foundation of child development. Insurance makes it possible. In Delaware, 3% of kids lacked coverage in 2017.

The Casey Foundation points to areas of tremendous improvement in children’s lives —  including access to health care, decreased rates of teen childbearing and increased rates of high school graduation — and draws a direct line to policies that support this success. With the child population larger than three decades ago, and with so much work left to do, KIDS COUNT in Delaware and the Casey Foundation call on elected officials and representatives to:

  • Provide the tools proven to help families lift themselves up economically. Federal and state earned income tax credits (EITC) and child tax credit programs mean working parents can use more of their take-home pay to meet their children’s needs.
  • Address ethnic and racial inequities. The national averages of child well-being can mask the reality that children of color still face a greater number of obstacles.
  • Count all kids. Ensure the 2020 census counts all children, especially those under 5 years old and those from hard-to-count areas.
Mother and daugter eating grapes

​The 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book is the 30th edition of an annual data study that is based on U.S. Census and other publicly available data, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Links to additional resources related to the 2019 Data Book include:

2019 What Would It Take Delaware

Video 1:How Has the U.S. Child Population Changed Since 1990?

Video 2:How the States Compare in the 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book

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Delaware ranked 25th in 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book

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  • Biden School of Public Policy & Administration
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  • University of Delaware
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  • Phone: 302-831-1687
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