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Louisiana Ranked 49th In Overall Child Well-Being

Jul 06, 2018 01:45PM

Despite some improvements since 2010, Louisiana still ranks 49th in overall child well-being according to the newly released 2018 Kids Count Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Foundation derives a composite index of overall child well-being for each state by combining data across the four domains: (1) Economic Well-Being, (2) Education, (3) Health
and (4) Family and Community. These composite scores are then translated into a state ranking for child well-being.

This year, New England states hold two of the top three spots for overall child well-being.
New Hampshire ranked first, followed by Massachusetts and New Jersey. Mississippi (at 48th place), Louisiana (49th) and New Mexico (50th) were the three lowest-ranked states.

The map shows the distinct regional patterns that emerged from the state rankings.
Five of the top 10 states in terms of overall child well-being were northeastern states, including
Connecticut (seventh) and Vermont (eighth). States rounding out the top 10 are Minnesota (fourth), Iowa (fifth), Utah (sixth), Nebraska (ninth) and Virginia (10th).

States in Appalachia, as well as the Southeast and Southwest [where families have the lowest
levels of household income] populated the bottom of the overall rankings. In fact, except
for California and Alaska, the 17 lowest-ranked states were in these regions.

Although they are not ranked against states, children in the District of Columbia and Puerto
Rico experienced some of the worst outcomes on many of the indicators the Foundation

In addition to differences across states, the overall rankings obscure important variations
within states. Although most state rankings did not vary dramatically across domains, there
are a few exceptions. For example, Montana ranked 10th for Family and Community but
placed 46th for Health. California ranked ninth for Health but 45th for Economic Well-Being.
For all states, the index identified bright spots and room for improvement.

Here are Louisiana’s rankings:

• 50th In Economic Well-Being

Louisiana was one of just three states where the child poverty rate was higher in 2016 than in 2010. In Louisiana, 29 percent of children (314,000) lived in families with incomes below the poverty line in 2016, up from 27 percent (300,000) in 2010. Louisiana’s biggest improvement on an economic indicator was seen in the 3 percent drop in the percentage of teens who are neither in school nor working, from 14 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2016.

• 47th In Education

The percentage of Louisiana high school students who don’t graduate on time fell by 28 percent, from 29 percent in 2010-2011 to 21 percent in 2015-2016, making it a bright spot for the state’s education indicators. Despite this improvement, Louisiana ranked 43rd on this measure, reflecting the need to accelerate progress in this area.

• 48th In The Family and Community Domain

The percentage of Louisiana children living in high-poverty neighborhoods increased from 18 percent in 2008-2012 to 21 percent in 2012-2016.

• 44th In Health

Consistent with national trends, Louisiana continues to make steady progress in connecting children to health insurance. Between 2010 and 2016, the percentage of children who are uninsured in Louisiana fell by half, from 6 percent to 3 percent.