Departmental Papers (Sociology)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version



More than one in eight children in the United States lives in California. In recent years, California's citizens and lawmakers have given a great deal of attention to addressing the needs of these children, and some programs have directed considerable resources toward enhancing their welfare and development. Given the growth in programs aimed at improving children's well-being, it has become increasingly important to take stock of how children in the state are faring. However, our ability to assess child-centered policies has been seriously hindered because most national studies that include indicators of children's well-being have not been large enough to yield reliable information on children at the state level.

This report uses a new source of information—the National Survey of America’s Families (NSAF)—that was explicitly designed to measure children’s welfare and well-being and that provides a large enough sample of California families to assess the status of children in the state. In particular, the report draws on information collected for 1,917 children living in California households that participated in the 1999 NSAF to examine variations in the well-being of children in the state and how they are faring in comparison to children living elsewhere. An important objective of this report is to provide a baseline of information about children’s well-being in 1999 against which similar indicators can be reexamined in subsequent years. Moreover, this analysis provides information about the needs of special subgroups of children and suggests to policymakers ways to target the populations that are in particular need of assistance.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This article was originally published by The Public Policy Institute of California and can be found at:



Date Posted: 14 June 2017