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QuickStats: Percentage of Children with Serious Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties,* by Age Group and Family Income Group --- National Health Interview Survey,§ United States, 2004--2009

The figure shows the percentage of children with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties, by age group and poverty status in the United States during 2004-2009, according to the National Health Interview Survey. During 2004-2009, approximately 5.1% of all U.S. children aged 4-17 years were reported by parents as having serious emotional or behavioral difficulties. Across all age groups, poor children (i.e., those living in families with incomes <100% of the poverty level) more often were reported to have serious emotional or behavioral difficulties compared with the most affluent children (i.e., those living in families with incomes ≥400% of the poverty level). For example, among children aged 11-14 years, approximately 9.3% of poor children were reported by parents to have serious difficulties, compared with 3.5% of the most affluent children.

* Emotional or behavioral difficulties of children were based on parents' responses to the following question: "Overall, do you think that [child] has any difficulties in one or more of the following areas: emotions, concentration, behavior, or being able to get along with other people?" Response options were 1) "no"; 2) "yes, minor difficulties"; 3) "yes, definite difficulties"; and 4) "yes, severe difficulties." Children whose parents responded "yes, definite difficulties" or "yes, severe difficulties" were defined as having serious emotional or behavioral difficulties.

Family income group is based on family income and family size using the U.S. Census Bureau poverty thresholds. Family income was imputed when information was missing, using multiple imputation methodology.

§ Estimates are based on household interviews of a sample of the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population. Denominators for each category exclude persons for whom data were missing.

95% confidence interval.

During 2004--2009, approximately 5.1% of all U.S. children aged 4--17 years were reported by parents as having serious emotional or behavioral difficulties. Across all age groups, poor children (i.e., those living in families with incomes <100% of the poverty level) more often were reported to have serious emotional or behavioral difficulties compared with the most affluent children (i.e., those living in families with incomes ≥400% of the poverty level). For example, among children aged 11--14 years, approximately 9.3% of poor children were reported by parents to have serious difficulties, compared with 3.5% of the most affluent children.

Source: National Health Interview Survey, 2004--2009. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nhis.htm.

Alternate Text: The figure above shows the percentage of children with serious emotional or behavioral difficulties, by age group and poverty status in the United States during 2004-2009, according to the National Health Interview Survey. During 2004-2009, approximately 5.1% of all U.S. children aged 4-17 years were reported by parents as having serious emotional or behavioral difficulties. Across all age groups, poor children (i.e., those living in families with incomes <100% of the poverty level) more often were reported to have serious emotional or behavioral difficulties compared with the most affluent children (i.e., those living in families with incomes ≥400% of the poverty level). For example, among children aged 11-14 years, approximately 9.3% of poor children were reported by parents to have serious difficulties, compared with 3.5% of the most affluent children.



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