Priority Populations

Developing State Indices of Child Well-Being

The regular production and release of the national Child Well-Being Index (CWI) by Ken Land and his colleagues has been a significant development for the field of child indicators.  It provides a clear way to monitor major trends in child well-being over time and differences among major groups of children.  Moreover, the regular publication and public attention it garners heightens public awareness of children issues.

But many researchers, opinion-leaders, and policymakers are interested in the well-being of children at the state and local level.  Therefore the usefulness of the index could be greatly enhanced is if it were made available at the state level.  In this paper, William O’Hare examines some of the key issues regarding development and use of child well-being indicators and indices at the state level.