Priority Populations

The Well-Being of America’s Children: Developing and Improving the Child and Youth Well-Being Index

  • Improves the understanding of how the well-being of American’s children can be measured and improved
  • The first book of its kind to address the issue of developing and Improving the Child and Youth Well-Being Index
  • Includes a systematic description and presentation of a unified approach to these topics

The volume attests to the evolution of the Child Well-Being Index and asks what it promises for understanding the progress — or lack of progress — in enhancing the life prospects of all American children. Recent research on the general problem of conceptualizing and measuring the well-being of children and young people is covered, as well as the conceptual foundations of the Child Well-Being Index and its methods of construction. Further, the authors assess the methodological issues involved in the construction of composite quality-of-life indices and the question of the extent to which the Child Well-Being Index can be scaled to apply meaningfully to levels of analysis below the national level. In the end, the questions of what this Index tells us about changes inchild and youth well-being in the US across recent decades at national, state, and substateregional levels and in international comparisons, and which additional data series need to be developed so that the Index can be improved, is addressed.


Forward by Ruby Takanishi, Past President, Foundation for Child Development


About the Authors

1.  Introduction Kenneth C. Land

2.  Conceptual and Methodological Foundations of the Child and Youth Well-Being Index Kenneth C. Land, Vicki L. Lamb, and Sarah Meadows

3.  The CWI and Its Components:  Empirical Studies and Findings Kenneth C. Land, Vicki L. Lamb, Sarah Meadows, Hui Zheng, and Qiang Fu

4.  Measuring Social Disparities via the CWI:  Race-Ethnicity, Income, and Immigrant Status Donald Hernandez, Suzanne Macartney, and Wendy Cervantes

5.  Research on the Subjective Well-Being of Children and Youth and Its Implications for the CWI E. Scott Huebner, Susan Antaramian, and Ashley D. Lewis

6.  Issues in Composite Index Construction Michael Hagerty and Kenneth C. Land

7.  Scalability of the CWI:  State-Level Indicators and Composite Indices Vicki L. Lamb and William P. O’Hare

8.  Scalability of the CWI:  Sub-State Regional Indicators and Composite Indices Qiang Fu, Vicki L. Lamb, and Kenneth C. Land

9.   Intergenerational and Cross-National Comparisons of Child and Youth Well-Being Kenneth C. Land, Vicki L. Lamb, and Hui Zheng

10.  Policy Connections and Practical Implications of the CWI Megan A. Curran, Shadi Houshyar, and Bruce Lesley

11.  Conclusions and Future Directions Kenneth C. Land

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