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Children comprise 26% of the U.S. population, or 72.3 million people.62 Racial and ethnic minorities account for almost 40% of all children.63 In 2003, 19% of the child population was Hispanic64 and 17% of children lived in families with incomes below the Federal poverty level.1
In 2003, Black children and American Indian or Alaska Native children had death rates about 1.5 to 2 times higher than White children. Black infants were more than twice as likely as White infants to die during their first year. Life expectancy at birth was 78 years for White children and 72.8 years for Black children, a difference of 6%.65
Quality of health care among children varies by race, ethnicity, and SES.66 Differences have been observed in childhood immunization,67 management of asthma,68 and evaluation and treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.69 Access to health care among children also varies by race, ethnicity, and SES. Differences among children by race, ethnicity, and SES have been observed in rates of uninsurance and public coverage70; getting a routine appointment as soon as wanted, receiving needed care, and patient experiences during care71; rating of health care72; and health care utilization and expenditures.73
Many measures of relevance to children are tracked in the NHDR. Findings presented here highlight four quality measures and two access measures of particular importance to children:
|Component of health care need:
||Dental care,vi counseling about physical activity
||Hospital admissions for pediatric gastroenteritis
||Hospital admissions for pediatric asthma
|Access to care
||Health insurance, usual source of care
In addition, the final section of this chapter, which discusses individuals with special health care needs, includes findings related to children with special health care needs.
vi Includes 1 core measure—dental visits—and 1 supplemental measure—untreated dental caries.