Children and Youth

The challenges facing our community’s children can diminish their chances for successful adult lives. In this section we review several indicators that describe family supports and risk exposure of our youngest residents.

In all cases, comparisons to New York state statistics reflect the entire state excluding New York City.

There are slightly more children living in poverty than in 2000, similar to state and national trends. In 2017-21, about 15% of children in the region were living in poverty, up 2 points since 2000 and lower than the national rate (17%).  Putnam County had the lowest rate of child poverty in the region (6%), while Sullivan County had the highest percentage of children living in poverty (23%). Poverty was highest among African American (22%) and Hispanic (17%) children in the Mid-Hudson Valley region in 2017-21. White children (14%) were less likely to be living in poverty, though this represents a 4 point increase since 2000.

There are more single–parent families in the region, though still below the state and nation. The proportion of single–parent families in the region increased 5 percentage points from 2000, similar to state and national trends. In 2017–21, slightly more than one–quarter (29%) of families in the region were headed by single parents, below the rates for the state (excluding NYC) (31%) and nation (34%). Ulster (39%) , Sullivan (40%), Ulster (38%), and Columbia (37%) counties had the highest proportion of single–parent families, while Putnam had the lowest (20%). Over half (53%) of African American families in the region were headed by single parents, the highest of any racial or ethnic group. This was below the rates for African American families throughout the state (excluding NYC) (65%) and nation (66%).  In the region, 37% of Hispanic families and 32% of white families were headed by single parents.

Rates of child abuse and neglect have fluctuated but not changed substantially since 2000. In 2020, there were 11 abused children for every 1,000 children in the region, down 15% from 2000 and below the statewide rate of 16. Rates were lowest in Orange (8 per 1,000) and Putnam (6 per 1,000) counties and highest in Greene County (27 per 1,000 children under 18).

Foster care admissions are decreasing, though the regional rate is higher than the state’s. The rate of children admitted to foster care declined to 1.4 children per 1,000 in 2020 from 2.8 in 2000. The rate is below the statewide rate of 1.6. Admissions were greatest in Greene County, with 4.2 children per 1,000 admitted to foster care, followed by Sullivan and Ulster (3.0 and 2.1 respectively).

The region has seen a decline in the teen pregnancy rate, which is similar to the state. In 2019, the number of pregnancies among females 12-19 was 1.2%, 2 percentage points lower than in 2000. Teen pregnancy was highest in Sullivan County at 2.3% and lowest in Putnam at 0.2%.

Live births to teen mothers have also declined since 2000. In 2019, there were 1 live births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 in the region, below the state and nation (11 and 17 respectively). This makes for a 59% decrease since 2000. Sullivan County had the highest rate in the region, with 21 births per 1,000 teen females, followed by Columbia at 16 births per 1,000.

Juvenile delinquency intakes are down drastically since 2000, and the regional rate is lower than the state’s. In 2020, the region had a rate of 30 juvenile delinquency intakes for every 10,000 juveniles, a decrease of 68% since 2000 and lower than the statewide rate (39). Putnam County had the lowest rate of juvenile delinquency intakes at 14 per 10,000 juveniles, followed by Columbia (33), while Greene County had the highest rate at 48 per 10,000 juveniles. 

Reported bullying incidents have declined in the region since 2014,  and the rate is similar to the statewide rate. In 2021, there were 2.4 bullying incidents per 1,000 students in the region, similar to the statewide rate (2.6). Rates have decreased for all counties in the region. Greene County had the highest rate in the region at 4.3 per 1,000, while Dutchess had the lowest at 1.5 per 1,000.