The Health and Well-Being of Children in Rural Areas: A Portrait of the Nation 2005
Home The Child The Child's Family The Child and Family's Neighborhood Order
Overall Child Health Status  |  Children with Moderate or Severe Health Conditions
Breastfeeding  |  Children with Moderate or Severe Socio-Emotional Difficulties  |  Impact of Socio-Emotional Difficulties
Overweight  |  Injury  |  Parents' Concerns  |  Current Health Insurance  |  Coverage Consistency  |  Preventive Health Care Visits
Preventive Dental Visits  |  Medical Home  |  Staying Home Alone  |  Repeating a Grade  |  Regular Physical Activity

Staying Home Alone

Parents of 6- to 11-year-olds were asked if their children had spent any time caring for themselves without the supervision of an adult or older child, for even a small amount of time, in the past week. Overall, 16 percent of children were reported to have been home alone for some amount of time. Children in rural areas, particularly small rural areas, are more likely to be home alone than their urban counterparts. Being home alone in the last week occurred among 18.7 percent of children in small rural areas, compared to 16.1 percent in large rural areas and 15.6 percent in urban areas.

Survey of Children’s Health In general, boys are more likely than girls to stay home alone, and both sexes are more likely to stay alone in rural areas than urban areas. Among boys, staying home alone in the past week occurred among 16.9 percent living in urban areas, 17.8 percent living in large rural areas, and 18.7 percent in small rural areas. Staying home alone occurred among girls at a rate of 14.3, 14.4, and 18.3 percent, respectively.

The pattern of higher rates of staying home alone in small rural areas is not as strong with regard to family income. For instance, children with family incomes below the Federal poverty level (FPL) are least likely to stay home alone in urban areas (14.0 percent), but are about equally as likely to stay home alone in large rural and small rural areas (17.0 and 16.9 percent, respectively). Children with family incomes of 400 percent of FPL and above are equally as likely to stay home alone in urban and small rural areas (18.7 and 18.6 percent, respectively) and most likely to stay home alone in large rural areas (19.5 percent).

Graph: Percent of children aged 6-11 years staying home alone, by location




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This chartbook is based on data from the National Survey of Children's Health. Suggested citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The National Survey of Children's Health 2003. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005.