(Baltimore, MD, Monday, June 24, 2013) - According to new data in the Annie E. Casey Foundationâ€™s KIDS COUNT Data Book Americaâ€™s children are making progress. They are building on a solid foundation and moving towards reaching their full potential.
Two areas that reflect this are: education and health. From roughly 2005 to 2011, the teen birth rate dropped by 15 percent to a historic low. The rate of high school students not graduating in four years saw an almost 20 percent decline, as did the child and teen death rate. In addition, the percentage of children without health insurance decreased by 30 percent.
Although the economic well-being of the nationâ€™s children improved slightly from 2010 to 2011, the negative impact of the recession remains evident. In 2011, the child poverty rate stood at 23 percent, or 16.4 million children â€” an increase of 3 million since 2005. The number of children living in households spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing â€” more than 29 million in 2011 â€” saw minor improvement from the previous year, but was still about 2 million more than in 2005. Similarly, the number of children whose parents lacked full-time, year-round employment was nearly 20 percent higher than in 2008.
The 2013 Data Book also examines how Americaâ€™s youngest children are faring, adding to the ongoing national conversation on early childhood education. In particular, younger children are disproportionately affected by the lingering effects of the recession. The poverty rate among children younger than three is 26 percent; among three to five-year-olds, it is 25 percent â€” higher than the national average for all kids.
Also new to this yearâ€™s Data Book are statistics on multiracial children, a rapidly growing population. These data indicate that while deep disparities persist for African-American, Latino and American Indian children relative to their white and Asian and Pacific Islander counterparts, multiracial kids are generally faring better than or as well as the overall population â€” with a few exceptions: 42 percent of multiracial children find themselves in single-parent families compared to 35 percent of kids overall, and 37 percent have parents without full-time, year-round employment, compared to 32 percent in the general population.
At the state level, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts rank highest for overall child well-being, while Nevada, Mississippi and New Mexico rank lowest. Other state highlights:
- For the first time in the Data Bookâ€™s 24-year history, Mississippi moved out of the No. 50 spot for child well-being, now occupied by New Mexico. While the two states remain fairly even, Mississippi performed better in a few areas, such as the number of children not attending preschool and those whose parents lack a high school diploma.
- Three southwestern states â€” Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico â€” are now in the bottom five for the overall rankings.
- The number of children in high-poverty neighborhoods continued to climb in 40 states and varies widely, from a fraction of a percent in Wyoming to 24 percent in Mississippi.
- Forty-six states and the District of Columbia saw improvements in math proficiency, but a considerable gap lies between Massachusetts, with 49 percent of its eighth-graders not proficient in the subject, and Mississippi, with 81 percent.