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To enable educators to understand clearly the societal trends that are affecting students and teaching, this document presents a compilation of national data about children. Whenever possible, the data are presented over a time series. The data are divided into two sections: the first covers important changes in the environment and circumstances of childhood in the United States--poverty, family structure and composition, and child abuse are examined with attention to differences by race. The second section covers aspects of children's behavior over time--violence and criminality, substance abuse, sexuality and childbearing, television viewing, and education.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Draft series. The unrestricted draft was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003 that represented preliminary or prepublication versions of other more formal RAND products for distribution to appropriate external audiences. The draft could be considered similar to an academic discussion paper. Although unrestricted drafts had been approved for circulation, they were not usually formally edited or peer reviewed.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.