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Change Indicator

Children who had a parent who was ever incarcerated in United States

Children who had a parent who was ever incarcerated

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Definition and Source



Children were included if the respondent answered "yes" to the following question: Did the child ever live with a parent or guardian who served time in jail or prison after the child was born?

Data Source

Child Trends analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, National Survey of Children’s Health. 

The state-level data used here come from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). The NSCH includes information on over 102,000 children under age 18, with roughly 2,000 children per state. Households were selected through a random-digit-dial sample, and one child was randomly selected in each household. Information on each child is based on responses of the parent or guardian in the household who was most knowledgeable about the sampled child’s health. Information was collected via a computer-assisted telephone interview. For more information on the NSCH, see

ell phones were contacted for the first time in 2011–2012


Updated October 2017
S - Estimates suppressed when the relative standard error was greater than or equal to 30%, indicating small sample sizes. 
N.R. - No observations in the sample.
N.A. – Data not available.
Percentages exclude missing data. Weighted percentages were applied to the estimates of those missing to derive overall estimates for the number of children.

Last Updated

November 2017