Northern States are the Best for Children, Says Foundation

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The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its twenty-first edition of the Kids Count Data Book, which measures the well-being of children across all 50 states. New Hampshire ranked at the top of the list, with several other northern and Midwestern states following closely behind.

The foundation was established in 1948 as a private charitable organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the US. The annual data book ranks states on the following 10 measures of well-being:

1. Percent of low birth weight babies
2. Infant mortality rate
3. Child death rate
4. Teen death rate
5. Teen birth rate
6. Percent of teens not in school and not high school graduates
7. Percent of teens not attending school and not working
8. Percent of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year- round employment:
9. Child poverty rate
10. Percent of children living in single-parent families

Overall, most of the 10 measures showed improvement but several have been impacted by the economic downturn, such as an increase in child poverty rate and percent of children living in single-parent families.

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Overall, data from the survey show that 18% of US children are living in poverty. The lowest percentage of children live in New Hampshire, Maryland, and Hawaii – with 9-10% of those children under the age of 18 who live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level as defined by the US Office of Management and Budget.

Thirty-two percent of children in the US live in single parent families, with most of them living in the Southern States of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Utah had the least number of children in single-parent homes, as reported by the last US Census.

Overall, ranking at the top for child well-being, after New Hampshire comes Minnesota, Vermont, Utah, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Jersey, Connecticut, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

The six states showing the biggest improvement from last year’s report are New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Many Southern States were at the bottom of the Kids Count data rankings, with South Carolina, New Mexico, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi at numbers 45 through 50.

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