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April 20, 2015
Contact: Nancy Parello, (908) 399-6031(c), (973) 643-3876, firstname.lastname@example.org
Race for Results: Children of Color Struggle on All Fronts
New Jersey’s black, Hispanic and mixed-race children are more likely to live in poverty, have poorer health, be involved in the state child protection and juvenile justice systems and struggle in school, according to New Jersey Kids Count 2015, released today.
In a special section in this year’s report, Advocates for Children of New Jersey, which produces the Kids Count reports, compiled statistics on key measures of child well-being broken down by race. This information is increasingly important as children of color comprise a larger share of all New Jersey children, with nearly half being black, Hispanic, Asian, another race or a mixture of races, the report said.
“It is important to take a closer look at the well-being of children of different races to inform honest, respectful and widespread public discussion to arrive at concrete solutions that can address the disparities that exist among children of different races,” said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director, Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
“The statistics in this special section are sobering,” Zalkind added. “They point to an urgent need to formulate public policy and secure investments that can help address these inequities that prevent all children from reaching their full potential.”
High Child Poverty
While the percent passing varies by grade and subject area, the same basic trends persist, with Asian children scoring highest, black and Hispanic children scoring lowest and other races testing in the middle.
High school graduation rates mirror these trends. In 2013-14 school year, 79 percent of black students graduated from high school, compared to 96 percent of Asian students and 93 percent of white students. Students of two or more races performed better on this measure, with 91 percent graduating from high school on time.
At 12 percent, black children were most likely to be born with low-birth. Infant mortality was also highest among black infants, with a rate of 11 deaths per every 1,000 live births. That compares to an infant mortality rate of 2 for Asian infants and 4 for white and Hispanic babies.
Teen births were highest among Hispanic females ages 15 through 19, accounting for 38 per 1,000 births, followed by black teens at 35 per 1,000 births. This compares to 6 for white teens and 3 for Asian females.
Black youth were also much more likely to be held in a county detention facility. In 2013, 65 percent of youth in county detention in 2013 were black.
“Behind every one of these statistics are children who are being denied the opportunity to realize their full potential and grow up to become a healthy, productive and stable members of our communities,” Zalkind said. “We are urging decision-makers at all levels – local, county, state and federal – to make addressing these racial inequities a top priority, recognizing that these children are our future.”
In addition to the special section, New Jersey Kids Count 2015 provides statistics on the well-being of all New Jersey children in key areas, including poverty, health, education, child safety and juvenile justice. ACNJ also released today the annual Kids Count county profiles, rankings and New Jersey Kids Count Pocket Guide 2015.
Advocates for Children of New Jersey is a statewide child advocacy organization devoted to ensuring that every child has the chance to grow up safe, healthy and educated. ACNJ is the Kids Count grantee for New Jersey.
KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For more information visit www.aecf.org .