The CWI remains the nation’s most comprehensive measure of the quality-of-life for children and youth in the United States, and is used as a tool for alerting policymakers and the public to child and family needs requiring policy attention. The CWI combines national data from 28 indicators across seven quality-of-life domains—Family Economic Well-Being, Health, Safe/Risky Behavior, Educational Attainment, Community Engagement, Social Relationships, and Emotional/Spiritual Well-Being—to capture elements of well-being not included in other, mainly economic, measures such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The CWI is updated annually and is aimed at policymakers and the press. These updates are overseen by distinguished social demographer Kenneth Land at Duke University, who has focused on the validation and use of social indicators since 1969. Land’s work is guided by an advisory panel of developmental psychologists, medical doctors and experts in economics and childhood social indicators.

FCD also funds Special Focus Reports to provide deeper analysis of the CWI on topics including: how economic, gender, racial and ethnic inequalities, and immigration status are related to child well-being; the breadth and depth of impacts of the Great Recession on child well-being; international comparisons between child well-being in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries.