Annual Data Book Outlines Hoosier Youth Wellbeing

Feb 20, 2019

The 25th annual Indiana Kids Count Data Book was presented at the Statehouse Tuesday. The book gives lawmakers, agencies and other community groups a look at how Indiana youth fare. 

The data report measures four different areas including education, family and community, economy wellbeing and health. Indiana scored an overall ranking of 28 – consistent with recent years.  

Indiana Youth Institute Vice President Charlie Geier says the data breaks down by county and race. 

"A theme that exists from all areas of child wellbeing is that race, place, income and immigrant status and barriers are critical," says Geier. 

Indiana’s infant mortality rates for black children are twice that of white children for example. Hoosiers in some low-income rural areas have no access to mental health providers. 

The data shows a sharp increase in the number of teens vaping says Indiana Youth Institute President and CEO Tami Silverman. 

"The smoking of electronic cigarettes or vaping has continued to skyrocket and we know that kids who would never consider smoking a cigarette somehow don’t associate that risk of tobacco use with electronic vapor products," says Silverman. 

Indiana also has consistently high rates of young people who consider suicide. 

Silverman says while fewer Hoosier children live in poverty, more live in working-poor households. 

"What does that mean for our kids, that means they may have to make some tough choices as far as all those necessities in life, be that health care or good nutrition," says Silverman. 

On the positive side, teen birth rates are the lowest ever and fewer Hoosier youth entered the Department of Corrections.