IYI’s 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides insight into the issues Hoosier youth are facing today, including a focus on disparities among racial and ethnic minorities and the impact of COVID-19. 


INDIANAPOLIS (January 26, 2021) — Indiana Youth Institute (“IYI”) today released the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, detailing the state’s continued ranking of 29th nationally for child well-being. This year’s publication, the 27th annual edition, includes expanded disaggregated data sets and an increased focus on the systematic disparities facing many Hoosier children.    


Information in the data book is both statewide and county specific. As in previous years, the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides objective, reliable information on the status of Indiana’s children and youth. IYI’s data book examines indicators in the categories of Family and Community, Economic Well-Being, Education, and Health. New this year, each section includes multiple COVID-19 impact overviews.  


“The past year has also offered painful reminders of the history and ongoing effects of institutional racism in America,” said IYI President and CEO Dr. Tami Silverman. “The data show racial disparities in most child well-being indicators. Our Data Book connects the disaggregated data to historical context, policies, and resource gaps influencing the outcomes of historically marginalized Hoosier youth. We believe better understanding the realities facing our children of color empowers us to work together to build equitable solutions.” 


Data from this year’s report, available on the IYI website, show: 


Child Population 

Indiana is home to the 15th largest population of children nationally. In 2019, more than 1.56 million children younger than 18 resided in Indiana.Indiana’s child population is more diverse than the adult population with 34.1% of children being a race or ethnicity other than White, compared to 21.5% of adults 18 and over. This percentage has increased from 2010, when 29.8% of Hoosier kids were a race or ethnicity other than White. 


Foster Care 

While the number of children and youth in our foster care system (12.2%) has decreased, we still have work to do. Indiana has the second highest number of children in the foster care system compared to our neighboring states, being higher than Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky. According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, 29,287 Hoosier children were in foster care at some point during 2019.  In 2019, the majority of foster placements (45.5%) were in a non-relative home and the average length of stay for children who exited care in 2019 was 584 days.  


Youth in the Justice System 

Youth who are juvenile offenders are particularly vulnerable to academic challenges and failure. As of July 2020, 335 youth in Indiana were in an Indiana Department of Correction juvenile correctional facility, and slightly over half (50.9%) were committed for a violent crime. While the total number of youth incarcerated has dropped (23.9%) since July 2017, we still see a disproportionate number of youths of color being incarcerated. One-third of our Hoosier youth are non-white, yet youth of color make up more than half of our incarcerated youth (50.8%). The majority of the youth, as of July 2020, were male (91.9%) and the average age at intake was 16. 


Child Poverty 

Indiana ranks 23rd in the nation for the percentage of children living in poverty (15.2%), which has improved since 2017.  There are, however, significant disparities across racial and ethnic groups — with all Indiana youth of color experience poverty at a higher rate than the state average. There are higher rates of Hoosier children of color living in poverty than the percentage of the total number of children of a specific race and ethnicity. For example, Black children comprise 24.1% of children in poverty, though only comprise 11.3% of the total child population. Hispanic children comprise 14.9% of children in poverty versus 11.4% of the total child population. 



Consistent with the last few years, Indiana’s best ranking is in education where we ranked 15th, up from last year’s 21st place ranking. At the same time, Indiana’s Pre-K enrollment rates place us amongst the lowest in the nation (41st) with less than half of Indiana children ages 3-4 (39.8%) being enrolled in preschool compared to the national average of nearly half (48.9%) enrolled children ages 3-4.   

Additionally, the large majority (88%) of our high school students who graduate on time and 61% of students who complete high school are enrolled in college within one year. However, of students enrolled in higher education only 42% graduate within 4 years, just slightly better than the 41% national graduation rate.  


Infant Mortality 

A child’s first year of life is the most fragile and formative for future health. In 2019, there were 80,851 live births in Indiana. Indiana’s overall Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is improving, but disaggregated data show stark disparities for Black babies in Indiana. Indiana’s overall rate is 6.5 deaths per 1,000 births. For Black infants, the IMR is 11 per 1,000; for Hispanic infants, 6.4 per 1,000, and for White infants, 6 per 1,000. In 2019 – 527 Hoosier infants died before their first birthday.  


Tobacco Use 

Hoosier youth’s use of cigarettes is lower than the national average in 2020, where 4.4% of Indiana youth between grades 9th to 12th reported smoking cigarettes in the past month versus the national average of 7.8%. Among Indiana high school students, the most frequently used tobacco products are electronic vapor products. In 2020, the percentage of students reporting monthly use of electronic vapor products decreased across all grade levels from the previous year.13.1% of students in grades 7 to 12 reported using electronic vapor.Use of electronic vapor products among Indiana youth is above the national average. 17.1% of Indiana youth grades 9th to 12th report using electronic vapor products versus the rate of 13.2% at the national level. 


Indiana Youth Institute is a leading convener and supporter of youth serving professionals, organizations, and community leaders. IYI produces the Data Book as part of a national network of state-level projects coordinated and supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF). Some data from this book also will be included in AECF’s national KIDS COUNT® Data Book, which provides state-by-state comparisons of child well-being and will be released later this year.  




About the Indiana Youth Institute   For three decades, the Indiana Youth Institute has supported the youth services field through innovative trainings, critical data, and capacity-building resources, aiming every effort at increasing the well-being of all children. To learn more about the Indiana Youth Institute, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.   


NOTE TO MEDIA: To arrange an interview or find potential sources on youth-related topics, please contact Margaret Duxbury at  or 317-460-9464. The latest KIDS COUNT® data is available online in the “Data & Research” section of IYI’s Team is available to help find youth-related data not listed on the site.