The 25th edition KIDS COUNT Data Book, a state-by-state report on children’s well-being issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, finds that Rhode Island ranks 26th in the nation for overall child well-being (1st is the best and 50th is the worst). Rhode Island ranked last in New England, following Massachusetts (1), Vermont (2), New Hampshire (4), Connecticut (7) and Maine (14).
The 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book provides a comprehensive portrait of how children are faring in the U.S. as a whole and in each of the 50 states. The Data Book and state-by-state rankings are available on the Casey Foundation website, with supplemental data available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center. Data Center users can create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and view real-time information on mobile devices.
According to the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book, there were improvements nationwide in many indicators in the health, education and safety areas:
Economic progress still lags across the country, even after the end of the recession. Since 1990, there has been an increase in the child poverty rate, as well as the percentage of children growing up in poor communities.
“On several fronts, we’ve seen the difference that smart policies, effective programs and high-quality practice can make in improving child well-being and long-term outcomes,” said Patrick McCarthy, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We should safety, education and decline in teen birth rate since 1990 all be encouraged by the improvements in many well-being indicators in the health, education, and safety areas. But we must do much more,” he added. “We should strengthen our commitment and redouble our efforts until every child in America develops to full potential.”
Rhode Island’s national rankings for child well-being State rankings are based on an index of 16 indicators in four key areas. While Rhode Island ranks 26th in the nation for overall child well-being (the same ranking as 2013), rankings were also issued for the four key areas:
Indicators of child well-being in Rhode Island
There were several indicators on which Rhode Island improved.
Rhode Island has low rates of uninsured children (Health)
“The fact that more children have health insurance demonstrates Rhode Island’s commitment to children’s well-being,” stated Elizabeth Burke Bryant, executive director of Rhode Island KIDS COUNT. “By covering our most vulnerable children and their families through RIte Care, Rhode Island has continued to make the health and well-being of our future generation a priority.”
Decrease in Children in Families without a High School Diploma (Family and Community)
Improvements in Reading and Math Skills (Education)
Despite gains in several health and education indicators, the percentage of Rhode Island children whose parents lack secure employment increased.
Increase in Children Living in Families without Full-Time Parental Employment (Economic Well-Being)
“The fact that more Rhode Island children are living in families without a full-time employed parent shows that the negative economic impacts of the recession continue to be felt among Rhode Island families,” said Burke Bryant. “Rhode Island must work toward ensuring that parents have strong job skills for stable, good-paying jobs, while at the same time increasing access to high-quality education for all children so they will have the education and skills to compete when they are adults.”