Back to Highlights Pressroom

Highlights Releases the 2016 State of the Kid Results

Columbus, OH • Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Lesley Waldsmith
(614) 383-1620     

Highlights magazine’s 2016 State of the Kid™ survey about upcoming election found:

  • 80% of families are talking about the election
  • 50% of kids think the first thing the new president should work on is keeping the country safe
  • 65% of kids do not want to run for president someday, citing stress as top reason
  • 70% of kids would want to paint the White House a different color if given the chance

The eighth annual State of the Kid survey released today by Highlights magazine uncovered kids’ point of view about the upcoming election, along with helpful insight for adults: turns out kids are absorbing the good, bad and ugly this election season and have more opinions about politics than one might think. The majority of kids (80 percent) said they talk about the election at home with their family, and half of kids expressed they were most concerned the future president makes the safety of our country his or her first priority in office. It also appears the stress, negativity and overall dissatisfaction in politicians this election season is having an impact on children: 65 percent don’t want to be president someday.

Highlights magazine, the best-read children’s magazine in North America and advocate for the voice of children, has conducted the survey for the past eight years to give kids (ages 6-12) a national platform to share their thoughts and feelings about major issues often only discussed from an adult perspective. The 2016 survey was election-focused and polled 2,000 children across the country, uncovering surprising insight about how much the election is impacting our children. The findings provide adults with important takeaways on how to use election season as a conversation springboard and learning opportunity for children.

“We look forward to the insightful opinions of kids from the State of the Kid each year, but results from this election survey were particularly exciting given the unconventionality of the presidential race,” says Christine Cully, editor-in-chief of Highlights magazine. “The 2016 survey solidified that children are definitely listening to, and impacted by, conversations happening at home, at school, and in the news, picking up on both the positive and negative—and parents should take note. Kids are more aware of what is going on in our country than some might think and have their own unique opinions.”

“Kids have voices that deserve to be heard and it’s important to listen to our children, especially when it comes to their beliefs,” says Cully. “Parents can use this election time as an opportunity to discuss politics and the presidency with their children in a positive way—both to reinforce morals and values, and encourage critical thinking skills.”

Kids Are Aware Of—and Concerned About—National Security Issues

By nature, kids are keen observers; and the more they are exposed to an issue, the more they may get concerned or believe it may impact their own life. It’s clear daily conversations about national security issues and terrorism are impacting our kids—50 percent of kids think the safety of our country is the first thing the new president should work on. Election coverage—or general news—discussing safety issues can provide good opportunities for adults to gauge a child’s level of concern, reassure the child and put the issue into perspective, and open the door for more conversations.

The Majority of Kids Do Not Want to Run for President Someday

Being president of the United States is an honored position many might expect children to aspire to be one day. However, the survey revealed more than half of kids (65 percent) do not wish to run for president someday. It’s clear what they see on television, along with criticism of both potential candidates, impacted their choice; kids stated high stress, responsibilities, lack of privacy and difficulty of the job as reasons why they wouldn’t want to be president.

However, survey results also revealed promising insight into kids’ aspirations—some kids simply don’t want to be president because they aspire to be in an equally challenging profession. Seventeen percent of kids answered they don’t want to be president simply because they want to be something else when they grow up, like a scientist, engineer or lawyer.

The 35 percent of respondents who do want to be president someday shared it’s because they want to make a difference, help people or change things about their country.

Kids Want to Paint the White House a Different Color

If given the opportunity to paint the White House a different color, 70 percent of kids would jump at the chance. Responses varied as to what color they’d choose, but reasoning included inspiration from their favorite color, patriotic symbolism or multicolored designs to represent the individuality and freedom provided in the U.S. The 30 percent of children who would keep it white noted tradition and avoiding a name change as reasons to keep the current color.

The complete 2016 State of the Kid report, including additional data, verbatim responses from kids and video can be found at


The survey was fielded in April through May 2016, with the support of C+R Research. A total of 2,000 children (ages 6-12) completed the survey, including both Highlights readers and non-readers.

About Highlights for Children

Devoted to "Fun with a Purpose" for 70 years, global family-media brand Highlights for Children, Inc. ( has helped millions of children foster their creativity and become their best selves. Sixty years after its inception in 1946, Highlights printed its one-billionth copy at its headquarters in Columbus, OH. In addition to the flagship magazine for children 6-12, Highlights’ other offerings include a Highlights High Five™ magazine for children 2-6; High Five Bilingüe™, an English/Spanish version of High Five magazine, for children ages 2-6; Highlights Hello™ magazine for children 0-2 and their parents; a children’s book division (Highlights Press, including Boyds Mills Press), puzzle book clubs and several digital offerings including four new mobile apps recently released: Highlights Hidden Pictures, Highlights Every Day, Highlights Monster Day and Highlights Shapes. Connect with Highlights at,, and


Back to Highlights Pressroom
Contact Us

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Highlights for Children spokesperson, please contact our Public Relations department