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Race for Results: Spotlight on African American Children

The 2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children has released data revealing that racial and ethnic disparities prevent children of color and children from immigrant families from achieving success on key milestones. In Nebraska, African American children scored the lowest overall with an index score of 348.

The index score is based upon twelve indicators. Compared to other groups, African American children in Nebraska scored the lowest in four indicators and did not have the highest score for any indicator measuring welfare.


  • Eighth graders who scored at or above proficient in math in 2015: 13% – The performance of children on standardized tests and in school often reflects the resources they have to higher education. That is to say, 87% of African American children are facing barriers to successfully earning a high school or college diploma. Increasing children’s math scores and improving their quality of education will help ensure employment and higher paying jobs later in life.  
  • Children not graduating high school on time in 2015: 25% – Children who earn high school diplomas are more likely to go to college and then find employment. These children are less likely to make risky choices and more likely to lead healthy lives.
  • Children, ages 0 to 17, who live in two-parent families: 34% – Children who grow up in households with two parents are more likely to have better economic, educational, and emotional resources than children in single-parent households.
    • 66% of children live in single-parent households. The chances of living in poverty are higher for single-parent families and the risk of teen pregnancy increases for children in single-parent families.
  • Children not born at a normal birth weight: 14% – Children who are born underweight are at higher risk for dying in their first year or developing disabilities. The environment of pregnancy can affect birth weight; conditions include poverty, stress, violence, and etc.  

In the eight other indicators, African American children neither had the highest nor the lowest score but the data still indicate room for progress.

  • Children, ages 3 to 5, enrolled in nursery school, preschool, or kindergarten: 51% – Young children must go to school in order to stimulate brain development and to prepare for higher education.
  • Children, 4th graders, who scored at or above proficient in reading 2015: 22% – The data show that 78% of children are below proficient in reading, which is a necessary life skill for higher education and higher incomes. Closing the gap in reading proficiency will give children more opportunities for success.
  • Children, ages 0 to 17, who live with a householder who has at least a high school degree: 90%  – Living with a parent who has a higher level of education is associated with having better educational outcomes and more economic stability.
  • Teen births 2015: 93% of teenagers delay childbearing until adulthood – Childbearing in teenage years can have negative effects. Babies are more likely to be born preterm or underweight if they have teen mothers. These children are more likely to have barriers to education and success.  
  • Children, ages 0 to 17, living above 200% of poverty 2013-2015: 30% – Living in poverty increases the threat to healthy development and is linked to higher rates of risky health behaviors.Children living in poverty also have poor academic outcomes and less resources.
  • Children, ages 0 to 17, who live in high poverty areas: 52% – High poverty neighborhoods are associated with higher risk of violence and rates of crime. Financial insecurity negatively impacts the children’s schools and after-school programs.
  • Young adults, ages 19 to 26, who are in school or working: 80% – These young adults are building skills while attending school or through employment. This will allow them to have greater opportunities for success in earning higher salaries.
  • Young adults, ages 25 to 29, who have completed an associate’s degree or higher 2013-2015: 19% – It is estimated that over half of new jobs will require some form of post-secondary education in the coming years. Lack of equitable access to these opportunities results in young people missing out on valuable opportunities for employment and career advancement.


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