What is?

The Index of Child and Youth Well-Being is a tool developed by the Youth Development Institute of Puerto Rico (Instituto del Desarrollo de la Juventud, IDJ) with the assistance of the Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (Instituto de Estadísticas de Puerto Rico, IEPR), to perform an x-ray of the state and conditions in which children and young people between 0-21 years of age live in Puerto Rico. Through the Well-Being Index, the IDJ seeks to shed light on the real situation of our children and youth, and remove the invisibility of this sector of the population.

Given that it offers a current and valid measure on critical issues affecting child and youth development, the Well-Being Index serves as a guide to institutions working with children and young people to set priorities for their projects and programs.

This instrument can be used to justify the need for programs and services, which will have a direct effect on the ability to gather resources and funds for organizations, municipalities and the government.

Through the Well-Being Index, the IDJ wants to contribute to ensuring the maximum development of children and youth in Puerto Rico, positively transforming the environments and conditions that affect them, and make Youth Development one of the three main priorities in our country.

The Well-Being Index is calculated from 27 specific indicators, which represent five key dimensions of youth’s life in society:

To create the Well-Being Index, more than 100 social statistics that are regularly measured throughout Puerto Rico were evaluated. The IDJ made the final selection of 27 indicators that we believe have the ability to accurately measure the level of well-being of children and young people in Puerto Rico.

The Well-Being Index allows us to compare the state and conditions of children and youth in Puerto Rico with other jurisdictions in the United States. The IDJ also seeks to achieve that the 27 indicators are available for the 78 municipalities, in order to compare them and measure their progress over time.

The 27 indicators were selected by the IDJ following the criteria below:

  • The reliability of sources: all information on indicators comes from local or federal government agencies, and most of this data has already been published by official sources.

  • Available data should be consistent and concurrent: the data collection methodology enables comparison between data, and the measurement of each variable should be performed each year or two.

  • Availability of data at the state and municipal level: the information makes it possible to identify and compare changes over time in the jurisdictions of the United States, and it should be available in the future to all municipalities in Puerto Rico; it should show affinity with local and federal government projects and with topics discussed at the Agenda Ciudadana Organization’s civic participation processes.

  • Indicators should be easily understood by a wide range of audiences: both young and adult professionals who work for the well-being of children and youth in Puerto Rico should be able to understand and use this data.



Nj (Z) refers to jurisdictions with a lower position in the indicator, while Nc (Z) is the total jurisdictions being contrasted in indicator Z.

The Word Bank’s Knowledge Assessment Methodology was used to calculate the Well-Being Index.

The indicators that make up the Well-Being Index are measured using different scales and units. Therefore, in order to add information, a normalization of each indicator was conducted. This involved assigning positions to each of the 52 jurisdictions of the United States for each indicator. We normalized the position of each indicator on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 implies a positive connotation, while 0 points to a negative connotation.

Disclaimer: The normalization process can only be interpreted in relation with the data available from other jurisdictions, so that if a jurisdiction improves or worsens in any particular indicator, it does not necessarily have an impact on the final position of each jurisdiction.

    The following agencies and their respective studies or statistics contribute to the Index of Child and Youth Well-Being in Puerto Rico:
    • U.S. Census Bureau
    • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
    • Maternal & Child Bureau
    • Analysis U.S. Dept. of Education
    • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
    • National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)
    • National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)
    • CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
    • American Community Survey
    • Census of Juveniles
    • The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)
    • Substance Abuse
    • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
    • National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS)
The following Indexes were used as reference:

Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012. Washington, DC: U.S.

UNICEF Office of Research (2013). ‘Child Well-being in Rich Countries: A comparative overview’, Innocenti Report Card 11, UNICEF Office of Research, Florence.

UNICEF Observatorio de la Infancia y la Adolescencia (2010). Propuesta de un SISTEMA DE INDICADORES SOBRE BIENESTAR INFANTIL en España.