Which state is the best for children?
The Kids Count Data Book for 2019 from the Annie E. Casey Foundation recently became available. According to a summary on the foundation’s website, the book looks at the “American childhood experience,” examining four domains of child well-being – health, education, family and community, and economic well-being.
The book also breaks down the data and ranks the states accordingly.
Minnesota ranked in the first quartile for all four domains, third in the nation for economic well-being, 10th for education, sixth for health and sixth for family and community.
North Dakota ranked first in the nation for overall economic well-being and fourth for family and community. The state was 30th in the nation for health and 35th for education.
Trends throughout the nation and overall child well-being, according to the summary for this year’s data book, include a growth spurt in the nation’s child population.
“The nation’s child population added more than nine million kids since 1990. Half of this growth came from three states: Texas (2.5 million), Florida (1.2 million) and California (1.1 million),” according to the site. The site also explained that in overall child well-being, six of the top 10 states are found in the northeastern part of the U.S.
“States in Appalaccia, the South and Southwest – where families have the lowest levels of household income – populate the bottom of the overall rankings,” the site states. The nation’s diversity among children has increased in the past 30 years with 47 percent of children being of color.
In overall child well-being, Minnesota is fourth in the nation and North Dakota is eleventh.
Within each domain, the foundation tracks four different areas. Within the economic well-being category, they look at statistics for how many children are in poverty, children whose parents lack secure employment, children living in households with a cost burden and teens not in school and not working.
Economic well-being statistics throughout the nation show that the likelihood of children growing up in families burdened by high housing costs has dropped by 10 percent nationally, according to the datebook summary.
“At the local level, the share of kids affected varies from a high of 43 percent in California to a low of 18 percent in North Dakota and South Dakota,” the site states.
National child poverty has also dropped four percentage points to 18 percent in 2017, according to the summary.
“Despite this good news, the poverty rate for African-American and American Indian kids remains substantially higher – at 33 percent,” the site states.
In Minnesota, 12 percent of children are in poverty, 21 percent of children’s parents lack secure employment, 22 percent living in households with a high housing cost burden and 4 percent of teens are not in school and not working. These percentages have all moved lower since 2010 in the recent data from 2017.
North Dakota ranks first in the nation for economic well-being, with only 11 percent of North Dakotan children living in poverty in 2017, this percentage dropped from 16 percent in 2010. There are 22 percent of children whose parents lack secure employment which was the same in 2010 and 2017.
Eighteen percent of children are living in households with a high housing cost burden, down slightly from 19 percent in 2010. Four percent of North Dakota teens are not in school and not working according to 2017 stats, a slight improvement from five percent in 2010.
National trends in the education domain show that in 2017, 67 percent of eighth graders in public schools scored below proficient in math, a summary of data book information shows.
“Despite slight improvement for African-American and Latino students, this statistic raises some concerns for kid of color. For example: 87 percent of African-American kids, 81 percent of American Indian kids and 80 percent of Latino kids tested below proficient in math,” the report shows.
Fifty-four percent of young Minnesotan children (ages 3 to 4) are not in school. This percentage was the same in 2009-2011 as it was in 2015-2017. Fourth graders’ proficiency in reading improved, with 61 percent not being proficient in 2017, down from 63 percent in 2009.
More eighth graders are not proficient in math in 2017 than 2009, growing slightly from 53 percent to 54 percent.
The percentage of high school students not graduating on time has decreased from 23 percent in 2010-2011 to 17 percent in 2016-2017.
North Dakota ranks 35th in the nation for education, with 69 percent of young children (ages 3 to 4) not in school in 2015-2017. This percentage increased from 65 percent in 2009-2011. Sixty-six percent of fourth graders were not proficient in reading in 2017, a slight increase from 65 percent in 2009. Sixty percent of eighth-graders were not proficient in math in 2017, up form 57 percent in 2009.
The percentage of North Dakota’s high school students graduating on time improved to 13 percent in 2016-2017 from 14 percent in 2010-2011.
The summary showing health trends across the country states that the share of children without health insurance has shrunk by 62 percent.
“Yet there’s still room for improvement,” the site states. “American Indian kids are more than three times as likely as their peers to lack health insurance.”
Only 3 percent of Minnesotan children are without health insurance and only 4 percent of teens abuse alcohol or drugs. Child and teen deaths decreased from 25 to 22 per 100,000 from 2010 to 2017.
The number of low birth-weight babies has increased slightly from 6.4 percent to 6.7 percent.
Comparatively, in North Dakota, the percentage of low birth weight babies held steady at 6.7 percent from 2010 to 2017. Eight percent of children in North Dakota were without health insurance in 2017, a slightly higher percentage than 7 percent in 2010. Child and teen deaths decreased from 34 in 2010 to 30 in 2017. The percentage of teens who abuse alcohol and drugs dropped slightly from 5 percent in 2015-2016 to 4 percent in 2015-2017.
Family and Community
National data in the family and community domain shows that single parents are raising one in every three kids across the nation, states the data book’s summary.
“Single-parent households are 4.5 times more likely than married households to live in poverty,” it states.
In the family and community domain, 27 percent of Minnesotan children are in single parent families, 8 percent of children are in families where the head of the household lacks a high school diploma, 5 percent of children live in high-poverty areas and there are 12 teen births per 1,000.
North Dakota ranks fourth in the nation for family and community. In 2017, 27 percent of children live in single-parent families, up from 25 percent in 2010.
Five percent of children live in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma, according to 2017 data, which is a slight increase from 4 percent in 2010. Six percent of children lived in high poverty areas in 2014-2017, a lower percentage than the 7 percent in 2008-2012. The number of teen births per 1,000 dropped from 29 in 2010 to 16 in 2017.
To view the 2019 Kids Count data book online, visit https://datacenter.kidscount.org/kids-count-data-book-interactive?/.