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Posted at 3:00 AM ET, 07/27/2010

Good, bad news on U.S. children

By Valerie Strauss

Even before the U.S. economic troubles of the late 1990s, the child poverty rate had increased in this decade, affecting nearly one-fifth of American kids, according to a new report released today on the well-being of American kids.

The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book compiled by the nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation and released today also shows the following:

*New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Vermont rank highest in child well-being across a number of indicators.

*Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi rank the lowest.

*Virginia ranks 16th, Maryland ranks 25th. The District is not ranked.

The report, using the latest available information, says that the rate of children living in poverty in 2008 was 18 percent, indicating that 1 million more children were living in poverty in that year than in 2000. Experts project that more up-to-date census data will show child poverty climbing to above 20 percent.

The report shows improvements in these areas: infant mortality rate (down 3 percent from 2000 to 2007); child death rate (down 14 percent down from 2000 to 2007); teen death rate (down 7 percent from 2000 to 2007); and teen birth rate (down 10 percent from 2000 to 2007); and the percentage of teens not in school and not high school graduates (down 45 percent from 2000 to 2008).

Three areas worsened: the percentage of low-birth-weight babies (up 8 percent from 2000 to 2007); the child poverty rate; and the percentage of children living in single-parent families (up 3 percent from 2000 to 2008).

*The six states with the biggest improvements in their rankings between 2000-2007 (health data) and 2000-2008 (economic data) are New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, Oregon and Wyoming.

* The five states with the biggest drop in rankings between 2000-2007 and 2000-2008 are Montana, South Dakota, Maine, Alaska and Hawaii.

The KIDS COUNT Data Center provides online access to the latest child well-being data on hundreds of indicators by state, county, city and school district. You can see it by clicking here.

Here are some selected facts about Maryland, Virginia and the District. You can go to the Casey Foundation Web site to see information on your own state by clicking here.


Maryland’s overall Kids Count ranking for 2010 is 25th in the nation. Two years ago, Maryland ranked 19th.

Maryland is the wealthiest state in the nation, with the highest median household income.

The gap between its wealth and child well-being rankings is second largest, with only Alaska worse.

Maryland’s infant mortality ranking fell to 42nd worst; two years ago, Maryland ranked 31st. In percentage of low-birth weight babies, Maryland ranks 38th. Maryland’s child death rate ranking is 27; two years ago it was sixth best.


Infant mortality rises to pre-2000 levels. Between 2006 and 2007, the District’s infant mortality rate rose 16 percent to 13.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. That makes the 2007 rate higher than the District’s 2000 rate of 12.0 infant deaths per 1,000 births. The District of Columbia had 116 infant deaths in 2007. Infant mortality in Ward 3 was 4.3 per 1,000, while infant mortality in Ward 8 was 20 per 1,000.

Low birth weight continues to fall. At 11.1 percent in 2007, the District’s share of low-birth weight babies is 3 percent lower than it was in 2006. This percentage also is 7 percent lower than it was in 2000, and only two of the 50 states can also make that claim.

Two in five children lack secure parental employment. The share of District children living in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment was 41 percent in 2008. By comparison, 27 percent of U.S. children lacked secure parental employment. When disaggregated by ward, the data reflect significant disparities in unemployment rates, with Ward 3 having the lowest unemployment rate and Ward 8 having the highest unemployment rate.


Virginia ranks 16th among states; two years ago it ranked 15th.

Virginia ranks among top 10 states on secure parental employment. In 2008, 23 percent of Virginia’s children lived in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment — well below the U.S. rate of 27 percent. Among the 50 states, Virginia tied for 10th on this measure.

Improvement in teen birth rate stalls. In 2007, the teen birth rate in Virginia was 35 births per 1,000 females ages 15-19, a 15 percent drop from the 2000 rate. However, the rate did not change between 2006 and 2007.

Share of teens not in school and not high school graduates among lowest in the country. The percentage of Virginia teens ages 16-19 who were not enrolled in school and were not high school graduates has fallen by more than half, from 9 percent in 2000 to 4 percent in 2008. Virginia tied for fourth nationally on this measure.

Increase in low birth weight and infant mortality. The share of low-birth weight babies in Virginia increased from 7.9 percent in 2000 to 8.6 percent in 2007. During that same period, the infant mortality rate in Virginia rose 13 percent to 7.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. On both indicators, Virginia also performed worse than the previous year.

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By Valerie Strauss  | July 27, 2010; 3:00 AM ET
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  casey foundation report, child health indicators, kids count  
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So many jobs have been lost to overseas that I imagine childhood poverty will continue.

Posted by: educationlover54 | July 27, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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