From the Annie E. Casey Foundation:
The Annie E. Casey Foundation today warned policymakers and child advocates of troubling consequences for the nation’s kids with the likely undercount of about 1 million children under age 5 in the 2020 census, as the Foundation released the 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, its annual look at child well-being in the United States.
In this year’s Data Book, the Foundation noted that about 4.5 million young children live in neighborhoods where there’s a high risk of missing kids in the count. An undercount of young children in the upcoming decennial census would short-change child well-being over the next decade by putting at risk hundreds of millions of dollars of federal funding for programs that are critical to family stability and opportunity.
The Data Book draws from numerous sources to focus on key trends in the post-recession years. It measures child well-being in four domains: economic well-being, education, health and family and community. This year’s Data Book shows upward trends in many aspects of child well-being, particularly in economic indicators. However, there are mixed results or stalled progress in the other domains. Troubling disparities persist among children of color and those from low-income and immigrant families. However, the data show improvements since 2010 in many factors that lead to children’s healthy development.
A stronger economy is producing better outcomes for parents and their kids. The Data Book shows that about 1.6 million fewer children are living in poverty than five years ago, more parents are employed and fewer families are spending a disproportionate amount of their income on housing costs. Nonetheless, in 2016, one in five children lived in poverty and 13% of kids lived in a high-poverty neighborhood. Moreover, there has been no progress in the percentage of teens who are neither working nor in school.
In child health, the nation saw a slight uptick in the percentage of children with health insurance, a result of the combination of key provisions and expansions for public health programs, but little else changed significantly. The nation saw the teen birth rate drop between 2010 and 2016 to its lowest level ever.
The nation’s graduation rate is at an all-time high with 84% of high school students graduating on time. There has been slight progress in the percentage of fourth-graders reading at or above grade level, but the percentage of eighth-graders proficient in math and the percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in school has remained stagnant.
State Rankings in the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book
- Five of the top 10 states for overall child well-being are in the Northeast, with New Hampshire first and Massachusetts second.
- New Jersey ranked third. Although this year’s rankings and last year’s are not directly comparable because of changes in methodology, and although changes in methodology and data availability have occurred regularly across the 29 years of the Data Book project, New Jersey had never ranked higher than fourth.
- Minnesota (4), Iowa (5), Utah (6), Connecticut (7), Vermont (8), Nebraska (9) and Virginia (10) round out the top 10.
- Mississippi saw slight improvements in almost every indicator. It ranks 48th, its highest ranking in more than a quarter century (1991).
- The five states with the lowest overall child well-being rankings are Alaska (46), Nevada (47), Mississippi (48), Louisiana (49) and New Mexico (50).
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Direct to Full Text 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book
72 pages; PDF.;