Posts Tagged ‘Data Sources’

Partnership with CHKS Provides Easy Access to Depression, Bullying and Other Key Datasets

Finding timely measures of critical issues such as teenage depression, bullying, and drug use can be quite challenging. Fortunately, here in California, we have a rich database of self-reported information for these and other behavioral/emotional health topics through the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). Thanks to a partnership with WestEd, which administers the survey, and the California Department of Education, offers more than 80 indicators from CHKS – all available at the school district level. This month, we’re extending that partnership, with WestEd’s announcement of the launch of its new website, Query CHKS, which allows users to view and customize data from CHKS directly from WestEd’s own site.

Query CHKS combines the wealth of valuable data from the survey with the data display of, allowing for easy access to the millions of data points available through CHKS. Many of the tools available on now are available on Query CHKS, including the ability to view data as trend or bar graphs, maps, pie charts, and tables; as well as the options to download or copy those data.

And, as the data are updated on, they will automatically be updated on QueryCHKS.

You can add a graph from to your website, too. Simply find the data you’re interested in, customize the chart with your preferences, and click “embed” in the top right.

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Post Comment Answers Your Data Questions: The Crosstab Quandary

Here at, our staff has been traveling throughout California to introduce this resource to people who work on behalf of children. In all of these meetings, we get excellent questions about the availability and limitationsof the data on our site. We thought we’d share some of those questions — and our answers — with you in a series of blog posts. If you have a question, feel free to post it as a comment here, or on our Data Questions page.

Today’s Question: There are so many topics of data available on Can I put together two different indicators to learn more about the population of children I serve? For example, can I combine your data on children in poverty and your data on asthma diagnoses to learn about the relationship between poverty and asthma?

Answer: Alas, the short answer to this question is no.

You cannot use kidsdata to run crosstabs, as they’re called, when data come from different sources, because the data were collected from different sets of children. For example, the asthma diagnosis data on come from the California Health Interview Survey, and data about children in poverty come from the American Community Survey. That means that we can’t use those two datasets to explore whether children living in poverty are more or less likely to be diagnosed with asthma. To do that, we’d need a single source that recorded a child’s family income level and whether or not the child had asthma.

However, within an individual source of data, we often offer multiple breakdowns for a given indicator. For example, on we offer dozens of measures of child and youth well being health from the California Healthy Kids Survey. Because the same students answered all the questions on that survey, it’s acceptable to compare the responses for different topics. You can explore how different risk behaviors (like drinking alcohol) vary by students’ level of connection to school, or by gender and grade level. For any indicator, if there are other breakdowns that you think we should add, we certainly would like to know; add a comment below.

Soon on, we’ll be offering the ability to compare multiple indicators for multiple regions, so that it’s easy to get a summary of how children are faring on a range of issues, across regions.

Posted by Sarah Marxer and Felicity Simmons

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Children Now Scorecard Offers ‘Fingerprint’ of Child Health Across California

The scorecard offers a unique fingerprint of how children are faring in each county in California.

Noting that no two counties are alike in California with regard to children’s health, Children Now recently released its 2010 California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being.

The scorecard offers a “fingerprint” for each county in California, showing each county’s performance in a range of areas of child well being, relative to other counties’ performance. Counties are organized according to rural or urban status and, within that, high- or low-income.  The 26 measures in the scorecard include education, safety, substance use, connectedness to school, and many others. Data about breastfeeding and prenatal care are cited from Check out all the indicators here:

And, view each county’s fingerprint at

Posted by Felicity Simmons

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California Ranks 19th in KidsCOUNT Data Book

The 2010 KidsCOUNT Data Book was released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Using 10 key child health indicators, the Data Book ranks states according to how they’ve fared in those measures since 2000 — and also provides national comparisons.

This year, California ranks 19th — a slight improvement over the rank of 20 in the 2009 Data Book. Since 2000, our state has improved in nearly every area featured: infant mortality, child and teen death rates, teen birth rates, and others.

Some areas have seen significant improvements — such as a 40% decrease in the teen birth rate from 2000-2008; and a 20% decrease in the death rate for children ages 0-14.

However, there are two areas that do not show improvement — low birthweights and single-parent families. According to KidsCOUNT, nearly 7% of babies in California were born at a low birthweight — an increase since 2000, but lower than the national average of 8.2%. In 2008, 32% of California children lived in single-parent families, which is an increase of 7% since 2000, but in line with the national average. (According to, family structure can be an important factor in a child’s physical health and mental health, educational attainment, and poverty status. Studies have shown that single-parent families are more likely than two-parent families to have lower incomes.)

Overall, children’s health in California is improving, according to the 2010 KidsCOUNT Data Book. Our Foundation’s Index of Child and Youth Well-Being also found that child well being improved from 1995 to 2006, but notes that the recent economic downturn threatens those gains.

Posted by Felicity Simmons

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Reading Report Puts California Data in Perspective

A report released this week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights the percentage of students nationwide who miss the mark in terms of 3rd grade reading proficiency — and what should be done about it.

The report, “Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters,” notes that 33% of 4th graders nationwide scored below “basic” on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test. The percentage scoring below basic was even higher — 49% — among low-income students, and higher still for African American, Hispanic, and American Indian students.

In comparison to other states, California 4th graders ranked close to the top; but no state reached “proficient” status, according to the 2007 NAEP scale.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation offers several recommendations for tackling this issue, including increased family/caregiver involvement, more help for low-performing schools, solutions for chronic school absences and summer learning loss, and early education coordination from birth through 3rd grade. But most of all, the foundation asks public officials to honor the bipartisan work that has already been done in this area with regard to national standards of excellence.

To download the report, visit For local reading proficiency data on (statewide data coming soon!) visit

Posted by Felicity Simmons

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Help Make the 2010 Census Fair and Accurate

The 2010 Census is fast approaching. As data users, we all know how important it is to have accurate data about the populations in our communities. Historically, low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrants have been less likely to respond to the Census. Undercounting people in these communities leads
to less fair decisions about political representation and the distribution of
federal, state, and county funds – including funding for education, health,
and social services.

Of concern to all of us across California: Ten of the 50 “hardest to count” counties in the nation are right here in California, though all counties contain pockets of people at risk of being undercounted.

What can you do? Organizations working in these communities will be critical to ensuring a fair and accurate count. The Nonprofits Count website is a hub for nonprofits interested in engaging in Census-related activities; this resource provides a comprehensive tool kit and suggests ways to reach your community. Community-based organizations also can partner with the Census to spread the word in your community through posters, newsletter announcements, brochures, and other customizable materials. And you can use the Healthy City California website to find out where the “hard-to-count” communities in your area are located. Multi-lingual outreach materials and other information are available on the 2010 Census website.

Posted by Sarah Marxer

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