Tag Archive: data

  1. 2022 KIDS COUNT Data Book Release

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    The 2022 KIDS COUNT Data Book was recently released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an annually published resource that tracks child well-being nationally as well as state by state and ranks the states accordingly. The report is based on the latest available data for 16 key indicators. Policymakers, researchers, and advocates can continue to use this information to help shape their work and build a stronger future for children, families, and communities.

    View the full 2022 Data Book.

    The 2022 report includes the most recent data from 2020. Due to several challenges in data collection during the pandemic, several years of data needed to be aggregated for stable results. A letter from the Annie E. Casey Foundation President, Lisa Hamilton, highlights the most recent data we have that reflect how parents and families are faring during the pandemic. This letter highlights the 1.5 million children who are struggling to make it through the day.

    Overall, Virginia is ranked 13th in the nation. The data in this year’s report include both pre-pandemic and more recent figures. Here’s where Virginia lands in each domain:

    • Economic well-being: Virginia saw improvements in all four indicators compared to 2008-2012. There are 24,000 fewer children living in poverty and the percentage of children in families with no full-time employment decreased by 8% from 2016-2022. Additionally, the percent of teenagers who are not in school and are unemployed decreased by 29%. However, there are still 242,000 children living below a family income of $26,246 for a family of four.
    • Education: Virginia is in the top 10 at 6th place. The percentage of high school students not graduating on time decreased from 18% to 13% (2010-2011 vs. 2018-2019).
    • Health: Virginia ranks 24th. The percent of children without health insurance, improved from 7% to 5% from 2008-12 to 2016-20. But that is the only indicator to improve during the trend year. Children born with low birth weight, child and teen deaths, as well as child obesity increased.
    • Family and community factors: Virginia ranks 17th place. Teen birth rates dropped from 27 per 1,000 females to 13 per 1,000 females in 2010 to 13% in 2020, and the percent of children living in households where the head of household lacks a high school degree went from 10% to 9%. However, children in single parent households (31%) and children living in high poverty areas (5%) from trend years 2008-2012 to 2016-2020 remain the same.

    The Virginia KIDS COUNT data center includes these indicators and hundreds more at the state and even local level over time. For example, interested in learning more about the percent of children in poverty across Virginia? The Virginia KIDS COUNT data center has data available by locality and race. Learn more.

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  2. Update on Census Data

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    The 2016-2020 5-Year Estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS) will be released by the Census Bureau on March 17, 2022. While these types of data are typically released in December, the delays in data were necessary due to concerns of non-response bias for the data collected during 2020. After revising its methodology, the Census Bureau has determined that the data is fit for release and use.

    The American Community Survey is a continuous nationwide survey that samples 3.5 million residences each year. It is used to provide reliable and timely demographic, socioeconomic and housing data.

    Several geographies are available for the results including national, state, counties, subdivisions, tracts, block groups, cities, zip codes, metropolitan areas, American Indian reservations, congressional districts, state legislative districts, school districts, urbanized areas, and rural areas.

    Topics covered by the results include age, race and Hispanic origin, family structure, citizenship, disability educational attainment/enrollment, employment status of parents, health insurance, group quarters population, income and poverty, language, and housing characteristics.

    Data is collected in both 1-year and 5-year estimates. While 1-year estimates provide the most up-to-date picture of how people are doing in the commonwealth, 5-year estimates are the most reliable and are typically used when analyzing smaller geographies.

    Voices for Virginia’s Children Data and Research program rely on Census data to analyze several determinants of health that we then share with decision makers and the public including:

    • Total child populations
    • Childhood poverty cutoffs (50%, 100%, 200%)
    • Children with parents in labor force
    • Median income of families
    • Children in single parent households

    Several of these indicators are also available by race.


    Keep a look out for updated information from Voices for Virginia’s Children Research and Data program in April, and if you have any questions about this or any other data, please don’t hesitate to contact Research Director, Lauren Snellings at lauren@vakids.org.

  3. RTRW Event: ‘Exposing Disparities during COVID-19 & the Impact on Virginia’s Children, Youth, & Families’


    Voices for Virginia’s Children’s 2nd annual Racial Truth and Reconciliation Week (RTRW) is taking place August 22 through August 28. On Tuesday, August 24 at 9:00am, the presentation ‘Exposing Disparities during COVID-19 & the Impact on Virginia’s Children, Youth, & Families’ will be taking place. This presentation centers around COVID-19 causing inequities and exposing long-standing racial disparities among children, youth, and families across Virginia. This event features COVID-19 data, equity, and policy presentations from Latoya Hill, Senior Policy Analyst at Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Lauren Snellings, Research Director at Voices for Virginia’s Children. It also includes an interview-style conversation between Kelsey McMahon, Data and Research Intern for Voices, and special guest Michael Royster, the Vice President of the Institute for Public Health Innovation.

    The event focuses on the impact of the pandemic on families, the social determinants of health, and racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data for cases and vaccines as well as feedback from parents during the pandemic point to a greater number in cases, lower vaccine rates, and substantial financial, emotional, and housing struggles for Black, Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian populations. This event provides valuable insight into the current state of the public health sphere and allows for a space to discuss future steps to address and close gaps in health inequities.

    To learn more about the social determinants of health and equity, check out last year’s event, ‘An Overview of Child Wellbeing & Equitable Research Practices’, here.

    Click here for more information.

    Register for this virtual event here.

  4. Key Findings: Equity in Action & Equity at a Glance 

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    The Virginia Department of Health recently released two new dashboards focused on equity. One highlighting the programs and initiatives that have advanced equity during COVID-19 and the other as an assessment into the social determinants of health and equity across Virginia. To learn more about the background of these two dashboards, check out our previous blog The Virginia Department of Health releases two new Dashboards: Equity in Action & Equity at a Glance. 

    Equity in Action Dashboard:  

    The dashboard Equity in Action summarizes indicators that show the progress Virginia has made in COVID-19 response and recovery programs and other initiatives that advance the equitable distribution of resources and services. The highlights from this dashboard are listed below:    

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Partnerships: This area indicates the total number of masks and units of hand sanitizer distributed by the Health Equity Leadership Taskforce. Since March 2020, Virginia has distributed 1.9 million units of PPE.  

    Medicaid Expansion: This section indicates the net change in overall Medicaid program membership from January 2020 to May 2021. Before Medicaid expansion, 62 percent of Virginians surveyed were without care. Since January 2020, the Medicaid Expansion program has had a net change in enrollment of 168,400 members. From April 2021 to May 2021, there was a net change in enrollment of 8,900 members.   

    Unemployment Benefits: Represents the total amount of unemployment benefits funding provided from January 2020 to March 2021 for both initial and continued claims. Since January 2020, Virginia has provided $6.4 billion in unemployment benefits funding. In March 2021:  

    • The unemployment rate for Virginia was 5.1 percent  
    • 62,000 state unemployment benefits were provided  
    • 96,000 initial unemployment claims (in which individuals request unemployment insurance aid for the first time) were issued  
    • $156 million worth of continued unemployment claims were issued   

    Food Distribution: This is the total number of meals distributed through various programs across Virginia. Since March 2020, 131.1 million meals have been distributed. This page also includes data on the total meals distributed, Summer Food Service Program meals, School Nutrition Program meals, and Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meals per locality in Virginia.  

    Small Women and Minority Owned (SWaM) Business Support: This section shows the total number of small businesses in low income communities approved to receive funding through the Rebuild VA Fund. Since this grant started in August 2020, 1,313 small businesses have received funding out of a total of 11,700 SWaM certified businesses in Virginia. $59 million of Rebuild VA funds has been distributed to these SWaM businesses.

    Equity at a Glance Dashboard:  

    The dashboard Equity at a Glance summarizes how Virginia ranks for six health equity areas including: income and poverty, educational attainment, food access, unemployment, broadband access, and housing insecurity. The summary of findings for Virginia are below:

    Key Metrics

    For these metrics, the closer Virginia is to 1st, the better the state is doing compared to other states. Virginia is:  

    • 10th in the nation for income and poverty, 10.6 percent of the population lives in poverty. 
    • 28th in the nation for educational attainment, 89.7 percent of adults attain a High School diploma. 
    • 11th in the nation for food access, 18.1 percent of the population has low access to food. 
    • 23rd in the nation for unemployment, 5.1 percent of the labor force is unemployed. 
    • 17th in the nation for broadband access, 83.9 percent of households have access to broadband. 
    • 25th in the nation for housing insecurity, 12.5 percent of households spend over half of their income on housing.

    Income and Poverty  

    • Virginia’s median household income is $74,222, above the national median income of $62,843 
    • 865,691 Virginia residents live in poverty (10.6 percent of the population).  
    • 1.26 million Virginia residents or 39.8 percent of households are below the ALICE threshold which includes households with income above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost of living.  
    • In Virginia, the average annual income per person is $39.3K. When we look by race, Hispanic ($25.8K) and Black ($28K) people make below the average annual income (White: $45K; Asian: $45.3K). 

    Educational Attainment  

    • Although Virginia is ranked 28th amongst all states in percent of adults with a high school diploma, rates in Virginia were better compared to the national average (Virginia: 89.7 percent; national average: 87.9 percent). 
    • Virginia also has higher rates of Bachelor degree or higher education level compared to the national average. (Virginia: 35.6 percent; national average: 29.6 percent). 
    • The reported SOL pass rate by race/ethnicity indicates that Asian students have a pass rate of 92 percent, White students have a pass rate of 86.4 percent, Hispanic or Latino students have a pass rate of 69.8 percent, and Black or African American students have a pass rate of 65.8 percent 

    Food Access  

    • 1.44 million people in Virginia have low access to food (18.1 percent of the population). 
    • 356,373 children have low food access (4.5 percent of the population). 
    • 13.4 percent of rural Virginia and 18.8 percent of non-rural Virginia have low food access. 


    • *Access to the unemployment section was temporarily unavailable during the creation of this blog. 

    Broadband Access  

    • Virginia’s average percent of the population with computer access and broadband is 87.5 percent 
    • Black or African American Virginia communities have the lowest access to broadband (80.4 percent). Hispanic or Latino communities are second lowest at (86.9 percent). Asian communities have the highest percent of access to broadband by race/ethnicity (96.0 percent) and White communities have the second highest (88.7 percent). 

    Housing Insecurity  

    • 12.5 percent of Virginia households experience severe cost burden, in which monthly housing cost exceeds 50 percent of household income, compared to the national average of 14.2 percent 
    • 893,210 households (28.8 percent of Virginia households) experience cost burden, in which over 30 percent of income goes to monthly housing cost.  

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  5. Zero to Three State of Babies Yearbook: 2021

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    Voices for Virginia’s Children is happy support the release of the State of Babies Yearbook: 2021 from our partners Zero to Three. This Yearbook resource includes downloadable, user-friendly reports, that include 60 indicators of wellbeing and policies to gauge how babies in Virginia are doing. This resource gives a pre-pandemic snapshot of key indicators related to specific topics. It also provides advocates and states leaders the ability to explore the data by race, ethnicity, and income.

    The story told this year includes the ingrained barriers families faced before the pandemic. The heightened challenges during the crisis points to the urgency of a national agenda of bold, durable policies that address deep-seated inequities and give every baby the ingredients to thrive. Here are some highlights pertaining to Virginia:


    • Virginia is home to 299,132 babies, representing 3.5 percent of the state’s population.
    • As many as 31.7 percent live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty line (in 2019, about $51,500 a year for a family of four), placing them at economic disadvantage.

    Good Health

    • Virginia performs better than national averages on key indicators, such as the percentages of babies breastfed at 6 months (62.2 percent);
    • and babies receiving recommended vaccinations (77.8 percent)
    • and mothers reporting less than optimal mental health (16.4 percent).
    • The state is performing worse than national averages on indicators such as the percentages of babies receiving preventive dental care (27.4 percent);
    • and uninsured babies in families with low income (5.7 percent).

    Strong Families

    • The state’s ranking in this domain reflects indicators on which it is performing better than the national average, such as the percentages of babies living in crowded housing (10.1 percent);
    • and babies experiencing housing instability, moved 3 or more times (1.0 percent).
    • Virginia is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the percentages of parents who report being resilient (80.1 percent), in fact we rank at the very bottom of this indicator.

    Positive Early Learning Experiences

    • The state’s ranking in this domain reflects indicators on which it is performing better than the national average, such as the higher percentage of parents who report singing songs (61.5 percent).
    • Virginia is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the lower percentage of infants and toddlers who received a developmental screening (29.5 percent).

    Read the full State of Babies Yearbook now.

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  6. Asian American Trauma Impacting Virginia’s Children


    There has been a 46% increase in acts of violence and discrimination of Asian Americans in the past year.

    According to data released by Stop AAPI Hate:

    • 3,800 reports of violence that ranged from stabbings, beatings, to deaths, were completed over the past year (March 19,2020-February 28th, 2021) of the pandemic for Asian Americans, which is significantly higher than the previous year’s number (2,600).
    • Of these assaults, youth up to age 17 made up over 12% of the incidents. 
    • Virginia made the list of the states with the greatest rate (11 rank at 1.29 and 49 cases).

    These numbers are powerful data points that partially quantify the scope of discrimination Asian Americans experience. These numbers only represent a small portion of the crimes that have actually occurred. There are several data challenges that point to rates much higher than we know. The Justice Department and FBI are required by a 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act to publish an annual report on hate crime statistics. This source is the most comprehensive look at hate crimes across the country; however, incomplete due to the inconsistency of required reporting of law enforcement agencies. Out of the 18,000 agencies across the US, nearly 3,000 of them did not report data in 2019. In addition to the lack of reporting, under reporting of individuals who have experienced a hate crime is also common. Those individuals may be scared of retaliation or think that it wasn’t reportable due to the type or scope of the incident.

    In addition to underreporting by both the victim and law enforcement agencies, another challenge is the way in which race groups for those of Asian race are lumped together. In a study conducted by Washington Center for Equitable Growth in 2016, there are a many as 50 different races and ethnicities that can be classified under the broad term Asian American or Pacific Islander. By lumping race groups together and not capturing all the unique races and ethnicities that the term Asian race contains, it limits a complete picture of the patterns and trends occurring, which prohibit evidence-based solutions to be implemented equitably amongst all in the Asian community.

    What we do know is trauma, like the violence experienced by Asian Americans, impacts children. According to Census data obtained by the Virginia Kids Count Data Center:

    It is unclear what projections of percentages of child poverty will be in the coming future. Federal legislation like the Family First Act and the EITC amendment, will aid families with some economic relief, but other unknown factors such as the unemployment rate and when public health restrictions are lifted prohibit a clear picture. 

    Our goal is to ensure no child or person experiences a hate crime or any type of violence. Children experiencing trauma, which can be a single event or multiple events, can having lasting impacts on the individuals physical, social, emotion, or spiritual well-being. Racism is a driving factor that impacts the social determinant of our personal and public health, family economic security, housing, food security, and education. Immediately, we are seeing impact in decisions parents are making regarding children’s immediate learning environment in places like Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia, which is the largest district in Virginia.  According to  a recent presentation of the Fairfax school board regarding back to school instruction, in the spring of 2021 just over 30 percent of Asian families selected face-to-face instruction. This was the smallest return rate among any racial group in the district. While we may not have data like this is available for every school district across the state, it certainly verifies trends we are seeing in which violence and racism is visibly impacting children. A recent study of Asian American Youth found that one in 4 had been victims of racist bullying during the pandemic.

    One immediate step to address the reported rise in violence that legislators have taken includes the creation of an Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucus.  Only meeting for the first time last week on National Day of Action and Healing to Stop Asian Hate, proclaimed by Governor Northam, this group has the potential to address root causes of this trauma at the policy level. 

    At Voices for Virginia’s Children, we are home to the Racial Truth campaign that serves to empower the voice of marginalized communities working on policy topics that address the severe effects of systemic oppression and intuitional inequality.  This is why we supported the resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis, and will continue to use both an equity and trauma lenses in all policy, advocacy, and data work we prioritize.

  7. An Update on the Census

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    The 2020 Census has come and passed, but the data and results from the surveys are still being tabulated.

    Last spring and summer, Census officials worked diligently to make sure we counted each and every person living in the United States. Since young children are the most missed demographic group in the Census, Research Director Lauren Snellings served as a trusted voice and advocate as a member of the Complete Count Commission, ensuring that each child in Virginia was counted. An accurate count makes sure that Virginia get its share in funding for government programs like SNAP and WIC, determines where we build new hospitals, schools, and roads, and even informs the boundaries for our legislative districts. 

    Now that collecting the survey data is complete, the Census Bureau is working on processing the data which involves data verification that results in final population numbers being sent to President Biden. After population totals are delivered to the president, the process continues on to demographic data at a smaller geography that is used to inform the redistricting process in the state. 

    If this were a typical decade, we would be on the verge of delivering the first round of redistricting data from the 2020 Census,” said James Whitehorne, Chief of the Redistricting and Voting Rights Data Office. “Our original plan was to deliver the data in state groupings starting February 18, 2021 and finishing by March 31, 2021.

    However this is not a normal decade and the pandemic has significantly delayed timelines. The deadline to get state population counts to the president is now April 30 and the data needed to inform the redistricting process in Virginia — including count of population by race, ethnicity, voting age, housing occupancy status, and group questions population at the census block level — won’t be available until at least September 30.

    Concerns of racial gerrymandering, following the congressional districts drawn from the previous census, has changed the way in which new boundaries will be drawn this time around. On November 3, 2020, Virginia voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing a commission-driven congressional and state legislative redistricting process. This commission is comprised of 16 members, including eight legislators and eight non-legislator members. 

    Due to the delay in getting redistricting data to the commission, it appears that the upcoming General Election this fall will be run on existing boundaries; however, this has still yet to be determined. Groups like the VA Counts Coalition, led by the Virginia Civic Engagement Table, are working hard to hold the redistricting committee accountable and advocate for greater transparency into the process.

    Learn more about the KIDS COUNT Data Center and subscribe to receive data emails.

  8. New KIDS COUNT Data Available: February 2021

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    A new year means new data. The Virginia KIDS COUNT data center has just updated 16 indicators in the areas of demographics, poverty, and economic well-being. See the full list below. We also have new data including child TANF participation and three new indicators by race including children receiving child care subsidies, child SNAP participation, and child TANF participation. 

    • Childhood Poverty below 100% 
    • Childhood Poverty below 200%
    • Childhood Poverty below 100% (1-year estimates)
    • Childhood Poverty below 100% by race
    • Children under 6 with parents in labor force
    • Median income of families with own children in household
    • All Virginia residents in poverty
    • Children living in deep poverty
    • Children in poverty living in deep poverty
    • Child population by race
    • Total Child population
    • Children living in single parent households
    • On-time high school graduation
    • On-time high school graduation by subgroup
    • Children receiving child care subsidies
    • Child SNAP participation

    A few highlights to mention from the 2019 data for children:

    • There are over 1.8 million children living in the commonwealth
    • While the racial demographics of the Commonwealth have become more diverse in the last decade, little change has occurred since 2018. In 2019, the race breakdown of children is:
      • American Indian and Alaskan Native: <0.5%
      • Asian: 6%
      • Black: 20%
      • Hispanic: 14%
      • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: <.5%
      • 2 or more races: 6%
      • White: 53%
    • 71% of children have all available parents in the labor force.
    • 13% of children live below the poverty line. About 1 in 3 or 31% live below 200% of the federal poverty line.
      • American Indian: 3%
      • Asian & Pacific Islander: 6%
      • Black: 26%
      • Hispanic: 18%
      • 2 or more races: 15%
      • White: 8%

    The most recent data highlights minor improvements in economic wellbeing, however, continued worsening inequities among race and ethnic groups. With the demographics of Virginia’s children becoming more diverse, having the most up to date data disaggregated is crucial for policymakers, advocates, and researchers to monitor the progress of health and wellbeing and building a stronger future for all children in the Commonwealth. 

    (*State level estimates are evaluated using 1-year ACS data. Locality level estimated are evaluated using 5-year ACS data, most recently the 2015-2019 estimates).

    To learn more, check out the Virginia KIDS COUNT data center.

  9. Looking for a New Year Resolution?

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    It’s that time of year where we start to think of the many different things we can do in the next year to be a better version of ourselves.

    If you haven’t been able to think of a resolution yet, Voices has one guaranteed to bring you more knowledge in 2017: learn more about how children in your community are faring by using Voices’ data and interactive maps!

    We’ve been hard at work these last few weeks to ensure our KIDS COUNT Data Center has the most up-to-date data for your use. With the release of the 2015 American Community Survey and the Small Area Poverty Estimates in December, the poverty indicators in the Data Center are now updated to 2015 data, with more updates on other topics to come in the following weeks.

    Most exciting of all, you can now go to our website and use our new interactive map to get a snapshot of where children who are economically disadvantaged live across the Commonwealth. Learn which localities have the highest number and highest percentage of children economically disadvantaged. Hint: they aren’t the same localities, with one glaring exception…

    So what are you waiting for? Check it out!

    Happy New Year and well wishes for data exploring.

    *Children who are economically disadvantaged are defined as living below 200% of the federal poverty level (in 2015 that is a total gross combined salary of $24,250 for a family of four). These children live in families who struggle to meet basic needs, such as food, housing, utilities, child care, and transportation.
  10. Data Center Make Over

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    Did you know there are over 200 indicators on child well-being in Virginia’s KIDS COUNT Data Center? Nearly 40 of those indicators are provided at the locality (county and/or city level). This means you can look at how the county or city you live in compares to others in Virginia on topics such as child economic well-being, education, health, and foster care. Use the left hand column on the home page to refine your search by county and topic.


    Voices works year-round to maintain this data and provide the most available and up-to-date so you know how children are faring in Virginia. We’ve spent the last several months doing a deep dive and looking at the data we make available to you.

    Now you can go to our Data Center and find out just how many children live below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) at 200%, 100%, and 50%. You can even see what percent of children who live in poverty, live in deep poverty (below 50% FPL).

    Why does data matter? Data = understanding. Data allows us to advocate for children using evidence-based decision making. It helps us see the gaps in services, and which programs help to lift children and families out of poverty.

    So check out our Data Center and see how children in your area are faring. While you’re at it, take a look at Voices’ Data Page on our website to see what publications are available that might be useful in your own work.

    And, keep an eye out. Voices is still refining and updating the indicators it tracks, and will have updated locality-level infographics in the coming months.

    If you have questions or need data, reach out to Beth Nolan, Voices’ KIDS COUNT Director, for assistance.