July 27 2010

July 27, 2010

Contact: Nayda I. Rivera-Hernández
(787) 649-9501

San Juan, PR—Children in Puerto Rico are more likely to fail nine out of ten key indicators of child well-being, including facing higher levels of risk than children in the mainland United States for low birth weight, teen idleness, and poverty, according to the 2010 KIDS COUNT Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) and joined by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S. Now in its twenty-first year, the data book provides new information on the condition of children in the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The analysis shows that since 2000, the situation of children in Puerto Rico has improved in some areas and worsened in others.

“In this time of economic uncertainty, we must implement effective solutions to the problems that Latino children face if we are to improve their well-being,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “Having good data will help in identifying solutions to advance public programs, community efforts, and government actions aimed at improving the well-being of children and their families.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • On nine out of the ten key measures for child well-being, children in Puerto Rico face higher levels of risk overall than the average U.S. child.
  • The child poverty rate for Puerto Rico (56%) is more than three times the level in the U.S. as a whole (18%), while more than half (51%) of children live in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment, nearly twice the national rate (27%).
  • The infant mortality rate in Puerto Rico (8.4 deaths per 1,000 live births) has improved since 2000.
  • Babies born to teen mothers in Puerto Rico (57 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19) decreased 21% between 2000 and 2007.

For the second year in a row, the KIDS COUNT Data Book is complemented by the online Data Center (, which gives better and faster access to updated information on the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. On the website, users can find customizable maps, trend lines and charts, geographic profiles, rankings of states and cities, and much more. By visiting the Data Center, users can access hundreds of other measures of child well-being and view real-time information on portable devices.

NCLR has housed the KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico project for the last eight years and has contributed to reducing the information gap by publishing several reports, providing information free of charge through an online database, and engaging in multiple initiatives regarding children on the island.

“Data collection on child well-being should be a top priority to any effort that is going to make a difference in improving children’s living standards. KIDS COUNT is a valuable tool for policymakers, social service providers, and many others who work on behalf of youth in Puerto Rico and the U.S.,” concluded Murguía.

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Issues: KIDS COUNT – Puerto Rico, Education, Education Policy Team