Kid Friendly Cities: Report Card 2004

This is the ninth edition of Population Connection’s report on children and cities. Its mission is to present the best available data on the social, economic, educational and physical environment in our cities–exactly where our children live, grow, learn and play.

Letter from Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Washington)

Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Washington) is currently serving his 8th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. McDermott was the first member of his family to attend college and went on to finish medical school. As a physician, Rep. McDermott is especially interested in health care issues and is leading the fight in the House of Representatives to guarantee all Americans comprehensive health coverage.

From the President

Teen Pregnancy. You may have read recently that teen pregnancy rates in the United States have been going down and are now at all-time lows. That is absolutely true. However, it is more important to recognize that teen pregnancy and birth rates in the U.S. are still, by a wide margin, the highest in the industrialized world.

Population and Kids

Since we began putting out the Kid-Friendly Cities Report Card almost 18 years ago, there’s been one question that pops up at each release: Why is a population stabilization organization interested in looking at cities as kid-friendly:
Miami, FL
Birmingham, AL
Des Moines, IA
Baton Rouge, LA
New Orleans, LA
Shreveport, LA

Sex Ed and Kids

With no federal policy or funding supporting comprehensive sexuality education, state laws primarily govern what local districts teach. If a state mandates sexuality education or prescribes what is taught if sexuality education classes occur, these laws set the parameters for classroom teaching. For example, California does not mandate sexuality education but requires school districts that implement sexuality education to follow certain guidelines

Community and Kids

A city is a noise, a smell. The murmur of the crowds at six and the quiet of the streets twelve hours later. Steinbeck called his beloved Monterey “a stink, a grating noise.” “But seen through other eyes” he describes a transcendent place of warmth and quiet beauty.

Health and Kids

Healthy mothers and healthy children go hand-in-hand, which is why some of the indicators that contribute to the Kid-Friendly Cities’ health grade are intrinsically related to motherhood. When women receive quality reproductive health care and are given the opportunity to space or limit their pregnancies, their children benefit too.

The Shaw EcoVillage Project

“The thing about this neighborhood,” says Jimmy, a staff mechanic draping his long arms over the bike he is working on, “is that I grew up three blocks from here and I never came down to this corner.” Yet, on this sunny Saturday afternoon, Jimmy is working with dozens of local children who hang out regularly at the Shaw EcoVillage Project, an award-winning program for kids in an often-troubled area of Washington, DC.

Statistical Analysis

What can we tell by looking at particular indicators in the survey? Do any of the indicators have a large significance in relation to a city’s overall grade? We ran several statistical analyses to determine whether there was any relation between individual indicators and a city’s final grade in each category and overall rank. All of our indicators were weighted evenly in determining the final grade, but we wanted to know which indicators would show the largest correlation to the overall grade.

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