Posts Tagged ‘New Data’

What Does It Cost to Meet Basic Needs?

At a time when unemployment is high and poverty is a pressing issue, new data show that the cost of making ends meet has increased.

New self-sufficiency data, released today by the Insight Center for Economic Development and available now on, show how much income is required to meet basic needs. On, we show the self-sufficiency standard for three family types: two adults and an infant, two adults and a school-aged child, and two adults and a teenager. The standard assumes that both adults work full time, and shows what they need to make in order to cover costs for housing, food, child care, out-of-pocket medical expenses, transportation, and other necessary spending.

In many California counties, the cost of meeting basic needs increased from 2008 to 2011. The Insight Center reports the reason for this increase is a combination of the rising cost of health care, child care, and taxes. See the center’s data on all family types.

For households with two adults and one infant in Alameda County, the cost of living increased by more than $8,000 between 2008 and 2011. In other Bay Area counties the increase was even greater — Santa Clara County saw an increase of nearly $14,000. In Southern California, Los Angeles County households of this type saw an increase of more than $9,000 between 2008 and 2011. Other Southern California counties such as Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino saw more modest increases.

Among households with two adults and one school-aged child, every county had an increase in the cost of living — especially Santa Clara County, which had an increase of nearly $10,000. For households with two adults and a teenager, most counties experienced an increase in the cost of living between 2008 and 2011, but for 12 counties (i.e., Colusa, Glenn, Imperial, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Tehama, Tulare, Yolo, and Yuba), the cost of living decreased.

Find the cost of living in your county>>

Note: The Self-Sufficiency Standard data come from the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and Dr. Diana Pearce, Center for Women’s Welfare, School of Social Work, University of Washington. For more information, see

Posted by Felicity Simmons


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Some Data Now Available by Legislative District

News ImageThis week, we added a range of demographic and economic data for every Congressional, Assembly, and State Senate district in California — nearly a dozen measures of child health — to (See the data we added)

Our colleagues across the state tell us that local data help them the most — and the more local the better. On, we already offer data for many topics at the city and school district level. The addition of data by legislative district means we can show data for many more regions across California — over 1,800 in all. In addition, we’ve heard from elected officials and their staff that hard data for their district would help them do their jobs better. By providing these data, we hope to help fill that need.

Currently, there are more than 400 measures of child health available on So, why are so few available by legislative district? The short answer: Only some data are collected that way. These legislative data, in fact, are drawn from recently posted data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey; these data weren’t even available a year ago. We hope this addition to helps policymakers improve the lives of children in their districts.

Another site that offers data by legislative district, for both children and adults, is Healthy City. If you know of other resources,  or other data available by legislative district, please note them below.

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Long-Term Growth in CA’s Public School Enrollment Masks Recent Declines

The take-home message from this accompanying graph of public school enrollment in California may seem to be the overall rise in California’s student population from 1994 to 2011. Last school year, California’s public schools enrolled 6.2 million students, which is about 1 million more students than in 1994. That’s an 18% increase.

At closer examination, however, the slight decrease from 2005 to 2011 is also a noteworthy trend. Across California, there were about 105,000 fewer students enrolled in public schools last school year than in 2005. And of 1013 school districts with both 2005 and 2011 data, more than half enrolled fewer students last school year than they did in 2005 (see data for your school district). 60% of counties experienced enrollment declines, too; rural counties were the hardest hit with enrollment declines.

In general, as school enrollment decreases, so does average daily attendance (ADA). Declines in ADA result in decreased per pupil funding from the state.

Some other noteworthy facts from the public school enrollment data recently updated on

  • According to 2011 data, more than half (55%) of California’s public school students are in five Southern Californian counties (Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino).
  • From 1994 to 2011, enrollment growth was particularly notable in two counties – Placer (74%) and Riverside (69%).

Posted by Andy Krackov


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California’s Changing Demographics Mirrored in School Enrollment Trends

Last school year, more than half (51%) of students in California’s public schools were Hispanic/Latino. But this hasn’t always been the case; Hispanic/Latino students only recently became a majority of California’s public school population.

Over the past two decades, in fact, we’ve seen notable shifts in the racial/ethnic composition of California’s public school students, as evidenced by this graph (click the bar graph tab, then press play).

Here in California, about three out of every four students in public schools are students of color. As noted, more than half of these students were Hispanic/Latino in 2011, up from 37% in 1994. By comparison, the proportion of students who were Caucasian/White dropped from 42% in 1994 to 27% in 2011.

Map Racial/Ethnic Enrollment Data for Your Community
Following are maps providing local-level data on public school enrollment in California. In each map, you can use the “Show Regions” menu to toggle between school district and county-level data.

  • African-American/Black Students
    In California, Solano County (17%) and Alameda and Sacramento counties (both at 14%) had the largest percentage of African American/Black public school students last school year. See map >>
  • Asian-American Students
    Among California counties, San Francisco (39%) and Santa Clara (27%) had the largest percentage of Asian American public school students last school year. See map >>
  • Caucasian/White Students
    The California counties where 60% or more of students are Caucasian/White all are in Northern California, according to data from last school year. See map >>
  • Filipino Students
    Among California counties, Solano (9%), San Mateo (8%), and San Francisco (5%) had the largest percentage of Filipino public school students last school year. See map >>
  • Hispanic/Latino Students
    Among California counties, Imperial (89%) and Monterey (74%) had the largest percentage of Hispanic/Latino public school students last school year. See map >>
  • Multiracial Students
    Multiracial students make up 1.8% of public school students in California, according to 2011 data.  See map >>
  • Native American/Alaskan Native Students
    Across California, there were 43,546 Native American/Alaskan Native public school students last school year. See map >>
  • Pacific Islander Students
    San Mateo County had the largest percentage of Pacific Islander public school students in 2011 (2.5%). See map >>

Posted by Andy Krackov


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Just Updated: Data on Asthma Diagnoses and Hospitalizations

You can add this graph — or any other graph/map — to your website. Just click “embed” at the top right corner of any data page.

How many California kids have asthma? Maybe more than you thought.

As the most common chronic condition among children in the U.S., asthma affects roughly 14% of California children ages 1 to 17 — about 1.3 million kids. These data, collected by the California Health Interview Survey, recently were updated on and are available for most counties.

Also just updated, the rate of asthma hospitalizations among California children ages 0-17 increased slightly from 2008-2009, but is down overall since 1998. Thanks to the California Department of Public Health for these data.

Here are a few more highlights:

  • Asthma hospitalization rates in 2009 were three times higher for California children ages 0-4 than for children ages 5-17. In 2009, more California children under age 5 were hospitalized for asthma (6,288) than all older children (those ages 5-17) combined.
  • Among California counties with available data, the percentage of children diagnosed with asthma varied widely, from 8% to 31%.

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Measuring Environmental Factors that Influence Children’s Health

Children’s environmental health is an emerging area of research. While available data do not yet address all aspects of environmental health, just launched five key measures with local data to draw attention to environmental influences on children’s health and to encourage exploration of these issues.

What are environmental influences on kids’ health? Examples include air pollution from traffic, lead in old paints and plastic, pesticides, and chemical contaminants in tap water. These environmental pollutants can put children at risk of developing serious illnesses, such as respiratory disease (e.g., asthma), cognitive defects, and cancer1,2.

Here’s more about the new measures on and why they matter:

Air Quality
Long-term exposure to high levels of ozone (the primary constituent of smog), as well as high concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air (largely from motor vehicle exhaust), are associated with a variety of breathing and heart problems3,4. Children living within 75 meters of a major road are at significantly higher risk for developing asthma and have a greater number of asthma-related emergency room visits than children who live fartherfrom traffic5See related data >>

Lead Poisoning
Lead, found mostly in old/chipping paint and contaminated soil, can cause low IQ scores, behavioral problems, seizures, and coma at different levels of exposure6. Children are especially vulnerable to toxic substances such as lead, as their systems are more fragile and their skin is more permeable. Young children also come into greater contact with toxins by playing or crawling on the ground, and through hand-mouth contact7. See related data >>

Water Quality
Levels of contamination that exceed the maximum allowed for drinking water — and documented failure to monitor drinking water contamination — indicate a higher risk of childhood exposure to toxic levels of bacteria, metals, and chemical residue. See related data >>

Sex Ratio at Birth
Environmental factors, such as exposure to endocrine disruptors (synthetic chemicals that mimic or block hormones) and second-hand smoke, may influence the sex ratio at birth by affecting human sex hormones and their regulation. The expected ratio of males to females born is 1.05 males to every 1 female (1.05:1). Concern mounts when there are fewer males than females born, i.e., less than 1 male to every 1 female8. See the data >>

Indicators within all of these topics will be updated and expanded as new data emerge. We welcome your feedback and insights on these new important measures of child well being.

Also see’s Research & Links section for websites and reports with more information related to environmental health.

(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2009). National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals.

(2) California Department of Public Health (CDPH). (2009). Prematurity & Growth Retardation.

(3) California Department of Public Health. (2009). Air Contaminants: Particulate Matter.

(4) United States Environmental Protection Agency.(2011). Ground-level Ozone.

(5) McConnell, et al. (2006). “Traffic, Susceptibility, and Childhood Asthma.” Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(5), 766–772.

(6) Godwin, H. (2009). “Southern California Environmental Report Card: Lead Exposure and Poisoning in Children.” UCLA Institute of the Environment.

(7) United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2007). A Decade of Children’s Environmental Health Research: Highlights from EPA’s Science to Achieve Results Program.

(8) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Sex Ratio and the Environment.

Posted by Andy Krackov


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Study Reveals Different Health Impacts of Living in Rural and Urban Areas

Despite the often-held image of clean air, fresh food, and physical activity in rural areas, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal notes that Americans who reside in cities tend to live longer, healthier lives than those in rural areas, according to a study. Among the specific findings, city-dwellers rate their own health more highly and are less likely to die prematurely than those living in rural areas.

Both urban and rural areas have positive and negative health trends, though. For example, obesity appears to be more prevalent in rural areas, with 55% of rural children ages 2 to 19 categorized as obese or overweight, compared to 45% of urban kids, according to the article. On the other hand, urban dwellers tend to have more low-birthweight babies than those in the rural areas, and children in rural areas tend to have less asthma and fewer allergies and autoimmune disorders than urban children.

According to data recently added to, of the 10 million kids ages 0-17 in California, 92% (about 8.7 million) lived in urban areas in 2005-2009, while about 8% (nearly 750K) lived in rural areas (as defined using the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey definition).

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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Children’s Weight Persist

Given public attention to weight issues among children, some might assume that there are fewer kids these days at a healthy weight than 10 years ago. When examining California data for 5th, 7th and 9th graders in public schools, however, it’s striking that most of the trend lines are fairly flat. In 1999, for example, 67% of California 5th graders were at a healthy weight. Roughly 10 years later, in 2010, that percentage was similar, at about 69%.

While the data indicate that weight trends among public school kids in these grades may not be getting worse, at least as measured by this indicator, neither have they gotten discernibly better over the last 10 years.

What also hasn’t budged much are racial/ethnic disparities in children’s weight.  Across 5th, 7th, and 9th grade in 1999, there was roughly a 20 percentage point difference between the racial/ethnic groups in California that had the lowest and highest percentage of students at a healthy weight. In 2010, that percentage point spread was at about 23, slightly greater than in ‘99.

That there are racial/ethnic disparities in children’s weight is not surprising. The data reveal just how intractable these disparities have proven to be over the past decade.  In 1999, for example, 74% of Caucasian/White 9th graders were at a healthy weight, compared to 59% of Pacific Islander 9th graders. In 2010, that gap had widened – about 80% of Caucasian/White 9th graders in California at a healthy weight, compared to 59% of Pacific Islander youth in this grade.  

One key step in addressing these disparities is continuing to monitor the data and raise awareness about the issues. Understanding what works, especially in this tough budget climate, is another essential step. Numerous organizations and individuals have been working hard for many years to address these disparities and improve children’s weight, overall. For more information about key organizations, research on this topic, and strategies to address these complex issues, see kidsdata’s Research & Links section and a summary of policy implications.

If you have insights to share on this subject, please post a comment here.

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Even More Data Available for Small Regions – See How Kids in Your Community Are Faring

Nine measures of demographic and income data recently were updated on These data, which come to us from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, include three-year estimates (2007 – 2009) for California counties, cities, and school districts with 20,000 or more residents. Data for these regions are aggregated across three years in order to provide reliable estimates. These data can be helpful in understanding population trends and planning services and investments for children and families. Soon will offer five-year estimates for regions with populations of at least 10,000.

Data updates for regions of 20,000 residents or more include:

Here are some interesting highlights of the ’07-’09 data:

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Just Added: Survey Data About Health Care, Asthma, and Teen Sexual Health

Our most recent addition to 2009 data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) on health care, asthma diagnoses, and teens who say they have not had sex. Highlights of these data are noted below.

Health Care Data Highlights:

Teen Sexual Health Data Highlight:

Asthma Data Highlights:

The California Health Interview Survey is sponsored by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. For more data from the survey, visit

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