Indiana Youth Institute (IYI) released the 2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT® Data Book, detailing the state’s continued ranking of 29th nationally for child well-being. This year’s publication, the 28th annual edition, emphasizes data intersectionality with a focus on the systematic disparities facing many Hoosier children and the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The past couple of years have been relentless and challenging for all of us,” said IYI president & CEO, Dr. Tami Silverman. “While it will be some time before we understand the total impact of the pandemic on our communities, there have been thousands of bright spots: the youth workers, educators, parents, and caregivers who continuously adapted and showed up to support Indiana’s kids.”
Information in the Data Book is both statewide and county-specific. As in previous years, the 2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides objective, reliable information on the status of Indiana’s children and youth across categories of Family & Community, Health, Economic Well-Being, and Education.
Disaggregated data provides local, state, and federal leaders a deeper and more nuanced understanding of students’ opportunities and achievement gaps. The 2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT® Data Book also examines how state and federal policies and initiatives can impact Indiana’s children and youth.
“The data show racial disparities in most child well-being indicators,” said Silverman. “Our Data Book connects the disaggregated data to historical context, policies, and resource gaps influencing the outcomes of historically marginalized Hoosier youth. We believe better understanding the realities facing our children of color empowers us to work together to build equitable solutions.”
The full 2022 Indiana KIDS COUNT® Data Book, Executive Summary, and County Snapshots are available at iyi.org.
Indiana is home to the 14th largest population of children nationally. In 2020, more than 1.57 million children younger than 18 resided in Indiana. Indiana’s child population has increased in racial and ethnic diversity over the past ten years and is more diverse than the adult population. 30.8% of children identify as a race or ethnicity other than White, compared to 21.5% of adults 18 and over.
While the number of children and youth in Indiana’s foster care system has decreased, Indiana has the second-highest number of children in the foster care system compared to neighboring states, Illinois, Michigan, and Kentucky. According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, 26,913 Hoosier children were in foster care at some point during 2020, an 11% decrease compared to 2019. In 2020, most foster placements (44.6%) were in a non-relative home. The average length of stay for children who exited care in 2020 was 615 days, an increase of 31 days from 2019.
Youth in the Justice System
Youth who are juvenile offenders are particularly vulnerable to academic challenges and failure. As of July 2021, 261 youth in Indiana were in an Indiana Department of Correction juvenile correctional facility, and slightly over half (53.4%) were committed for a violent crime. While the total number of youths incarcerated has dropped by 36% since July 2018, a disproportionate number of youths of color are incarcerated. One-third of our Hoosier youth are non-white, yet youth of color make up nearly half of our incarcerated youth (48.8%). The majority of the youth, as of July 2021, were male (87.5%) and the average age at intake was 16.
30,000 more children are living in poverty (17.2% total), a 2% increase compared to 2019, likely due to the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are significant disparities across racial and ethnic groups — with all Indiana youth of color experiencing poverty at a higher rate than the state average. There are higher rates of Hoosier children of color living in poverty than the percentage of the total number of children of a specific race and ethnicity. For example, Black children comprise 25.8% of children in poverty, though only comprise 11.2% of the total child population. Hispanic children comprise 17.4% of children in poverty versus 11.3% of the total child population.
Consistent with the last few years, Indiana’s highest category ranking is 17th in Education, a decrease from last year’s 15th place ranking. At the same time, Indiana’s Pre-K enrollment rates are amongst the lowest in the nation (41st). Less than half of Indiana children ages 3-4 (41.1%) are enrolled in preschool, compared to the national average of nearly half (47.3%). The majority (86.7%) of Hoosier high school students graduated on time, and 59% of students who complete high school are enrolled in college within one year. In 2020, 44.4% of Indiana college students at a public Institution graduated on time, and 63.6% completed college within six years. The rate of students graduating on time has increased by 2.1% in the past year and 12.3% in the past five years.
A child’s first year of life is the most fragile and formative for future health. In 2020, there were 78,566 live births in Indiana. Indiana’s overall Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) increased slightly in 2020 and remains higher than the national rate. Disaggregated data show stark disparities for Black babies in Indiana. Indiana’s overall rate is 6.6 deaths per 1,000 births. For Black infants, the IMR is 13.5 per 1,000 births; for Hispanic infants, 5.5 per 1,000 births, and for White infants, 6 per 1,000 births. In 2020, 552 Hoosier infants died before their first birthday.
According to Mental Health America, Indiana’s mental health ranking fell from 33rd in 2021 to 42nd in 2022, likely due in part to school closures, social distancing, loss of health insurance, and disruptions in medical care. In 2020, the prevalence rates for having felt sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in a row in the past year were higher for Indiana students in grades 9 through 12 than for youth nationally. 2,259 calls by individuals ages 24 and under were made to the Indiana Suicide Hotline from March 2020 to March 2021. One positive trend is a decrease in Indiana’s mental health provider ratio. In 2020, the ratio of people to one mental health provider was 590:1 – a decrease of 30 individuals from 2019. Many counties in Indiana similarly have low ratios of people to mental health providers.
Indiana Youth Institute is a leading convener and supporter of the people, organizations, and communities focused on the well-being of kids and youth. IYI produces the Data Book as part of a national network of state-level projects coordinated and supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF). Some data from this book also will be included in AECF’s national KIDS COUNT® Data Book, which provides state-by-state comparisons of child well-being and will be released later this year.