New National, State Scorecard Highlights Urgent Need for Investments to Address Disparities for Children of Color

April 1, 2014
For More Information Contact:
Stephanie Hogenson, 651-855-1175 or

Minnesota’s future prosperity depends on the ability to ensure all children succeed early and often in childhood so they can become more productive adults. However, a new report, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Children’s Defense Fund –Minnesota (CDF-MN), shows Minnesota and the nation have much ground to cover so that all kids – especially children of color – are poised to thrive.

The KIDS COUNT® policy report, Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, unveils the new Race for Results index, which compares how children are progressing on key milestones across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state level. KIDS COUNT is a national project of the Annie Casey Foundation and CDF-MN, a local grantee, compiles KIDS COUNT data for Minnesota children.

With the number of children of color in Minnesota growing rapidly, the concerns highlighted in the report show African-American, Latino, American Indian and some subgroups of Asian-American children are facing profound barriers to success and necessitate an urgent multi-sector approach to develop solutions. 

Minnesota Child Population Growth by Race and Ethnicity, 2000-2010


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Race for Results sheds light on the reality that for many Minnesota children, especially children of color, the path to success is steeper, and as a state we need to level the playing field for all children,” said Peggy Flanagan, CDF-MN Executive Director. “Today’s children will offer new ideas and opportunities that will improve our future, but only if Minnesota works hard to foster equal opportunities for all its children by investing in effective programs and policies that target specific populations and improve health, education and economic outcomes for families.”

The index used in Race for Results is based on 12 indicators that measure a child’s success at each stage of life, from birth to adulthood. The indicators were chosen based on the goals that all children should grow up in economically successful families, live in supportive communities and meet developmental, health and educational milestones. To easily compare results across the areas in the index, the indicators are grouped into four areas: early childhood, education and early work, family supports, and neighborhood context.

Overall, the index shows that in Minnesota and at the national level, no one racial group has all children meeting all milestones. The index uses a single composite score on a scale of one to 1,000; the higher the score, the greater the likelihood that children in that group are meeting milestones associated with success. Nationally Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest index score at 776 followed by white children at 704, Latino children at 404, American-Indian children at 387, and African-American children at 345.

White children in Minnesota have the highest index score at 745, followed by Asian children at 646. The composite score for Asian children in Minnesota is the sixth lowest state score for Asian children in the country. Scores for Minnesota’s other child populations --Latino (435), American Indian (334) and African American (360) -- are distressingly lower, and keep Minnesota near the bottom when compared to other states.

”When we compare data on health, education and economic outcomes for all Minnesota children, we often fare better than most states. But when we break the data down by race and ethnicity, Minnesota has some of the greatest disparities among children in the country,” said Stephanie Hogenson, CDF-MN Outreach Specialist. “The Race for Results report provides us with a better understanding of where investments in early childhood education, access to health care and improved family economic stability are urgently needed so we don’t lose one child to poor health, crime or poverty.”

While there is not sufficient data available at the state level, the report finds that on the national level there are clear differences in the extent to which barriers to success exist for different subgroups of African-American, Latino and Asian children, including immigrant children in all subgroups. Although Asian-American children scored the highest on the national well-being indicators, children of Southeast Asian descent (Burmese, Hmong, Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese) face barriers on the pathway to economic stability. For Latinos nationwide, kids from Mexico and Central America face the biggest barriers to success and kids from South America scored highest on the index. African-American English speakers were more likely to meet grade-level proficiency in reading and math than African Americans who did not speak English, while African-American children in immigrant families were about twice as likely to live with two parents.

The report makes four policy recommendations to help ensure that all children and their families achieve their full potential:

•  Gather and analyze racial and ethnic data to inform polices and decision making;

•  Utilize data and impact assessment tools to target investments to yield the greatest impact for children of color;

•  Develop and implement promising and proven programs and practices focused on improving outcomes for children and youth of color; and

•  Integrate strategies that explicitly connect vulnerable groups to new jobs and opportunities in economic and workforce development.

CDF-MN asked community leaders in Minnesota to share their perspective on the report results and effective solutions to ensure all children have equal opportunity to achieve their potential. Find out what they said in our blog on the report.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In addition to the Race for Results Index  , the Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Center has up-to-date and comprehensive national, state and local statistics on child wellbeing.

CDF-MN is the only policy organization in the state to focus solely on the needs of children. CDF-MN pays particular attention to the needs of our most vulnerable children — children of color, children from low-income families and children with disabilities. To achieve its goals, CDF-MN compiles research, helps connect families with public work support programs, implements high quality youth programs, and advocates for effective health, education, economic and social policies on behalf of the state’s children.