Trends in African American
Child Well-Being, 1985–2001
Vicki L. Lamb, Kenneth C. Land,
Sarah O. Meadows, and Fasaha Traylor
As the United States has become an increasingly multiracial society, major concerns about child well-being have focused both on the circumstances of children's lives within specific racial groups and how these circumstances compare with the pattern and trend of improvement in all children's lives relative to the past. Social scientists should be engaged in monitoring and reporting on the condition of African American children, because these issues are important both in their own right and as a mirror to the nation about how far we have come.
The purpose of this chapter is to describe trends in child well-being of African American children for the years 1985–2001, building on the component social indicator time series and summary well-being indices that have been compiled by the Child Well-Being Index Project (Land, Lamb, & Mustillo, 2001; Meadows, Land, & Lamb, 2005). Our base year, 1985, represents the earliest time most racial data were collected on indicators of child well-being. National trends of child well-being for all U.S. children are also presented for the same time period to compare and contrast with African American patterns and trends of child well-being.
INDICATORS AND DOMAINS
Data sources available for the operationalization and measurement of trends in child well-being in the United States are limited, particularly