large administrative dataset is the AHRQ’s National Hospital Discharge Data Set. However, these sources vary in the degree to which they are representative of conditions in the population, because they undercount individuals with poorer access, tend to be health insurer specific, and because of the considerable evidence that coding is often inaccurate. Issues related to how to interpret data for which

BOX 4-3

KIDS COUNT, a national and state-level project aimed at assessing the status of children in the United States, was initiated by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the late 1980s.

The initiative is designed “to contribute to public accountability for different child outcomes, resulting in a model for data-driven advocacy for children, their families, and their communities.” KIDS COUNT publishes an annual data book that presents state-level data on the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of children using indicators from multiple data sets. The Casey Foundation also funds a national network of state-level KIDS COUNT projects that provides a more in-depth and detailed view of children in their state.

The 10 measures used to rank states on overall child well-being include:

  • percentage of low-birthweight babies;

  • infant mortality rate;

  • child death rate;

  • rate of teenage deaths by accident, homicide, and suicide;

  • birth rate to teenage mothers;

  • percentage of children living with parents who do not have full-time, year-round employment;

  • percentage of teens who are high school dropouts;

  • percentage of teens not attending school and not working;

  • percentage of children in poverty;

  • percentage of families with children headed by a single parent.

The project has also published a series of special reports, such as:

  • KIDS COUNT Data on Asian, Native American, and Hispanic Children: Findings from the 1990 Census;

  • City KIDS COUNT;

  • Success in School: Education Ideas That Count;

  • Child Care You Can Count On: Model Programs and Policies;

  • When Teens Have Sex: Issues and Trends—A KIDS COUNT Special Report;

  • The Right Start: Conditions of Babies and Their Families in America’s Largest Cities; and

  • Children at Risk, State Trends 1990–2000: A First Look at Census 2000 Supplementary Survey Data.

For more information, see

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