Copyright 1999
Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Inc.
420 NW 13th Street
Suite 101
Oklahoma City, 73103
Phone: 405-236-KIDS
Fax: 405-236-KIDX

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Introduction The Oklahoma Department of Libraries is proud to offer web access to the Oklahoma Kids Count Factbook, a project of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Inc. (OICA).

OICA's Kids Count project gathers data from a variety of sources to report on the well-being of children and youth in Oklahoma. State and federal agencies, private consultants, foundations, and other organizations have contributed information.

We encourage you to explore the findings (please see Interpreting the Data). Most of the charts and graphic illustrations in the publication are available in post-script document format (pdf). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to access these (downloading is free and uncomplicated).

For related links, please see Also Online.

Understand What is Being Measured

It is important to understand what is being measured and how. Several types of data information are available for each benchmark: numbers, average annual numbers, county and state rates, percentage change between years, base and recent data, and county rankings. A "key" directing the reader to the various types of data information is presented at the beginning of the County Benchmarks section (page 29). The Methodology and Sources (page 82) details what each benchmark means, what data is included and where it is from.

Beware of Small Numbers

County populations vary significantly. Such variations should be considered when interpreting the differences among counties. Be aware that small counties may have a small number of events (e.g., child deaths, arrests for violent crimes) which can cause rates to vary considerably from year to year without reflecting real change. For this reason, many benchmarks use multiple year averages to improve the reliability of rate comparisons. Low rates may appear in counties with large populations. Relying solely on rates, without considering the numbers involved, may result in overlooking locations which have large numbers of suffering children.

Remember the Uses and Limits of Data

Benchmarks provide important baseline information. Effective use of benchmarks requires them to be understood in a broad context. They provide one way to look at how children are doing in a county or state. Benchmarks can provide the starting place to initiate dialogue with others who share your interest. There are many important perspectives required to piece together a complete picture. Collect additional data and viewpoints to flesh out the most useful view of child well-being in your own area.

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Also Online

In addition to Factbook 1999, the following documents and resources are also available online:

1998 Oklahoma Kids Count Factbook on ODL Online

1997 Oklahoma Kids Count Factbook on the Oklahoma Department of Commerce site

The National Kids Count project, steered by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the United States.

On the Casey Foundation's Kids Count page, you can access the national statistics and use a powerful online database to generate custom graphs, maps, ranked lists, and state by state profiles.

The Casey Foundation website also includes access to Teen Childbearing in America's Largest Cities—a Kids Count Working Paper (includes Oklahoma City and Tulsa data), and When Teens Have Sex: Issues and Trends a Kids Count Special Report.

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Kids Count 99 Introduction Acknowledgments Overview Economic Distress Clusters State Benchmarks County Benchmarks Raw Data Methodology Leaders