Among the lessons we learned from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is that when we take bold steps to stave off financial catastrophe for families who face it, we can substantially reduce child poverty. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2024 Race for Results report suggests that continued efforts are needed to address persistent disparities in child well-being.

The Race for Results report series tracks how children across racial and ethnic groups are faring at the state and national levels on key education, health, and economic milestones. The latest report, released this month, shows that we are failing to equip children of every race and ethnicity with what they need to succeed. Wide disparities rooted in race and geography endure.

The Race for Results index standardizes scores across 12 indicators that represent critical milestones—including fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math proficiency, high school graduation rates, likelihood of living in low-poverty areas, and educational attainment and employment as young adults. Six indicators have improved for every racial and ethnic group during the past decade—but unevenly. When indicator scores are combined into a composite score out of a possible 1,000 for each state and racial or ethnic group, the disparities are stark. National scores ranged from 386 for Black children, 418 for American Indian or Alaska Native children, and 452 for Hispanic children, to 612 for children of two or more races, 697 for white children, and 771 for Asian and Pacific Islander children.

State scores show that experiences also vary widely within groups depending on where a child lives, from a high of 877 for Asian and Pacific Islander children in New Jersey to a low of 180 for American Indian or Alaska Native children in South Dakota. Within each group, the report also examines the well-being of children in immigrant families, finding disparities relative to their non-immigrant family peers.

These unacceptable outcomes are a direct result of under-investment in young people from under-resourced communities and communities of color. For America to prosper now and in years to come, we need the talent, intelligence, and hard work of people of every race and ethnicity, regardless of status.

Read the full article about child well-being by Leslie Boissiere at Candid.