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Goal: Families will provide a stable, supportive environment for their children.

"Poverty can do immediate and lasting harm to children. The economic insecurity of growing up in poverty means that children are more likely to lack adequate food and clothing, live in poor housing, become victims of crime and violence, lack basic health care and be less successful in school." [42]

Indicator 6: Child Poverty

"Household poverty is the most direct indicator of the economic status of children." [42]

Income below poverty level

Families with income below poverty level
Location 2000 2005 est. 2009 est.
All Families
Fargo 6.6% N/A 5.3
*Metro N/A 10.8% 5.3
Cass County 5.7% 7.9% 4.8
North Dakota 8.3% 7.5% 6.6
United States 9.2% 10.2% 10.5
Families With Children Under Age 5
Fargo 14.5% N/A
*Metro N/A 31.2%
Cass County 12.2% 20.1%
North Dakota 16.6% 18.3%
United States 17.0% 17.1%
Families With Children Under Age 18
Fargo 9.9% N/A 9.1
*Metro N/A 16.1% 11.1
Cass County 8.3% 11.6% 7.8
North Dakota 12.0% 11.8% 11.8
United States 13.6% 15.6% 16.6
N/A = Question was not asked or the results cannot be generated
*Metro: Fargo, ND - Moorhead, MN Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000 [43], 2005 American Community Survey [44] and 2009 [45]

2011 Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines

48 Continguous States and D.C.

2011 Poverty Guidelines
Family Size Poverty Income Threshold
1 $10,890
2 $14,710
3 $18,530
4 $22,350
5 $26,170
6 $29,990
7 $33,180
8 $37,630
For each additional person add $3,820
Data Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [46]

Indicator 7: Free or Reduced Price Lunch Program

"Research shows that when a childs nutritional needs are met, the child is more attentive in class, and has better attendance and fewer disciplinary problems." [47]
Students Recieving Free or Reduced Lunch Program
Location 2004 - 2005 2005 - 2006 2006 - 2007 2007 - 2008 2008 - 2009 2009 - 2010 2010 - 2011
Cass County 18.5% 20.7% 21.3% 22.0% 25.9% 25.8% 26.1%
North Dakota 30.4% 30.4% 31.2% 32.0% 32.0% 34.0% 33.3%
Children eligible to receive Free or Reduced Price Lunch as a percent of total enrollment in respective geographic areas
Data Source: North Dakota Department of Instruction [48]

According to the Food and Research Action Center:

  • To receive a free meal, household income must be below 130% of the poverty threshold.
  • To receive a reduced price meal, household income must be between 130% and 185% of the federal poverty threshold."

Indicator 8: Child Abuse and Neglect

"Since children are the most vulnerable population, child abuse and neglect is a measure of the communitys capacity for protection and support. Beyond the risk for injury and death, children who have been abused or neglected are more likely to perform badly in school, to abuse drugs or alcohol as adolescents, to be arrested for violent crime, and to abuse their own children." [49]
Suspected Victims of Child Abuse and Neglect
Location 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Cass County 5.1% 5.3% 5.6% 5.7% 5.0% 5.4% 4.9%
North Dakota 4.4% 4.5% 4.6% 4.5% 4.3% 4.9% 4.9%
Percentage of children ages 0 to 17 involved in assessments made to the North Dakota Department of Human Services where there is suspicion of child abuse or neglect out of the total child population ages 0 to 17 in respective geographic areas.
Data Source: North Dakota KIDS COUNT! [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57]

Indicator 9: Teen Pregnancy

"Teenage mothers, many of whom are single, face difficulties in providing a stable, supportive environment for their children." [58]
Teen Birth Rate
Teen Birth Rate Information
Location 2001 2003 2005 2007 2008 2009
Fargo 17.1 16.5 15.9 15.3 20.8 19.9 16.9
Cass County 16.7 16.3 19.7 21.4 21.3 19.5 25.4
North Dakota 28.9 28.7 25.8 24.6 27.3 25.9 25.6
United States 41.6 41.1 40.5 NA 42.5 41.5 N/A
Rate of live births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19 by residence in respective geographic areas
Data Source: North Dakota Department of Health [2], Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] [65]

Indicator 10: Meals with Family

A 2002 review of 32 studies affirms that family routines (such as bedtime and dinner time) and family rituals (such as birthdays and family reunions) are associated with marital satisfaction, adolescents' sense of personal identity, academic achievement, children's health and stronger family relationships. The review does not suggest that any particular routine is crucial, but the presence of family routines and rituals in general beneficial. [66]

Families that ate together
Location 2001 2003 2005 2007
*Fargo 51.1% 56.3% 58.4% 54.0%
*Region 5 NA 56.4% 56.0% 56.0%
North Dakota 57.5% 53.3% 57.1% 56.5%
Note: New wording used for questions regarding physical activity in 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
Percentage of survey participants in grade 9 through 12 in perspective geographic areas reporting they ate a meal with their family yesterday.
*Region 5 includes the following North Dakota Counties: Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill.
*Raw data is not weighted by age or gender for Fargo and Region 5 and is not recommended for trend analysis. The raw data gives us a snapshot for that geographical area and year. See data limitations at http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/health/YRBS/index.shtm 2009 YRBS ND Regional Reports.
Data Sources: YRBSS: Fargo Public Schools [67], YRBSS: North Dakota Department of Public Instruction [68] [69] [70] [71] [72]