NEW YORK » In every region of America, white and Asian children are far better positioned for success than black, Latino and American Indian children, according to a new report appealing for urgent action to bridge this racial gap.
Titled "Race for Results," the report is being released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which for decades has worked to improve child well-being in the United States.
The foundation also produces annual "Kids Count" reports, with reams of state-specific data, but these generally have not focused on race.
At the core of the report is a newly devised index based on 12 indicators measuring a child’s success from birth to adulthood. The indicators include reading and math proficiency, high school graduation data, teen birthrates, employment prospects, family income and education levels, and neighborhood poverty levels.
Using a single composite score with a scale of one to 1,000, Asian children have the highest index score at 776, followed by white children at 704.
"Scores for Latino (404), American-Indian (387) and African-American (345) children are distressingly lower, and this pattern holds true in nearly every state," said the report.
Patrick McCarthy, the Casey Foundation’s president, said the findings are "a call to action that requires serious and sustained attention from the private, nonprofit, philanthropic and government sectors to create equitable opportunities for children of color."
The report, based on data from 2012 including census figures, described the challenges facing African-American children as "a national crisis."
For black children the states with the lowest scores were in the South and upper Midwest, with Wisconsin at the bottom. The highest scores were in states with relatively small black populations: Hawaii, New Hampshire, Utah and Alaska.
Among its recommendations, the report urged concerted efforts to collect and analyze race-specific data on child well-being that could be used to develop programs capable of bridging the racial gap. It said special emphasis should be placed on expanding job opportunities as children in the disadvantaged groups enter adulthood.
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David Crary, Associated Press