The 31st edition of the Kids Count National Data Book has been released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, highlighting indicators of child well-being in 16 areas.

Launched in 1990, the National Kids Count Data Book is used as a means of sharing critical data about the welfare of children at the federal, state and local levels to increase public advocacy and inform policy and decision-making. Kids Count Network partners collect local data related to child well-being and disseminate their findings through a local data book and other initiatives.

The data book is supported by a national network of non-profits and foundations from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In January, the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development was invited to lead the Kids Count initiative for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Previously, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands had spearheaded the local effort.

Locally, the St. Croix Foundation is designing tools and strategies to tell the story about how children in the Virgin Islands are faring. Central to its approach will be identifying “hot spots,” and “bright spots” among the data, while also presenting the findings from a systems perspective. The data books place an emphasis on advocacy and engagement that leads to collective action that improves outcomes for the territory’s children.

One of the striking indicators presented in the 2020 National Data Book focuses on American children living in poverty.

In a decades-long trend, Black and Native American children in the nation represented the highest populations of children living in poverty, hovering at 32% and 31%, respectively, in 2020.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation found the national average for all children is 18%.

In the Virgin Islands, the rate of child poverty correlates to national statistics. According to the 2019 V.I. Kids Count Data Book, child poverty rates in 2013 and 2014 were 35% and 37%, respectively. The rate decreased to 30% in 2015; however, in that same year, the national rate of child poverty was 21%, according to the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.

The St. Croix Foundation’s goal is to produce a territorial snapshot in the fall of 2020, with the expectation that the 2020 Census, along with local governmental data, will provide current data for a deeper assessment and trend analyses of children’s welfare in 2021 and beyond.

To view the Kids Count National Data Book, visit www.aecf.org.