State Takes Baby Steps in Kids Count Improvement
Mississippi has improved its ranking for overall child well-being according to new data released in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Book. Eight of the 16 indicators used to rank states in the areas of economic well-being, education, health and family and community show slight improvements, moving the state into the 49th position for the first time in the 24 year history of the foundation’s Data Book. New Mexico fell to 50th. New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts ranked highest for overall child well-being.
Here is a quick look at how Mississippi fared:
Economic Well-Being: 50th – Mississippi showed a decline in all four areas of economic measurement.
Education: 48th – Math and reading proficiency levels improved along with the percentage of children attending pre-school while the percentage of high school students not graduating on time remained unchanged.
Health: 48th – The number of Mississippi Children without health insurance improved along with two other health indicators, but the percentage of low-birth weight babies worsened.
Family and Community: 50th – Although it ranked 50th in this category, Mississippi did show some improvement in two of the four measured areas. The number of teen births per 1000 went from 61 in 2005 to 55 in 2010.
“While the Health and Education indicators have improved somewhat, keeping Mississippi out of its perennial 50th spot, the high percentage of children living in poverty coupled with children living in households whose parents lack secure employment continue to be of concern,” said Dr. Linda Southward, Mississippi KIDS COUNT director. “Improving quality early care and learning environments and having families with secure employment are two of the critical factors in advancing the overall well-being of Mississippi’s children and youth.”