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It's Your Business 2018: Idaho in the middle for overall child well-being

Idaho is standing mid-range in most “kid” categories, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation 2018 Kids County Date Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being, which was recently released.

Since 1990, Kids Count has ranked states annually on overall child well-being using an index of key indicators in four areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

For overall child well-being, Idaho came in at 21. The top five states were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota and Iowa, while the bottom five were Alaska, Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico. Neighboring states include Utah (6); Washington (15); Montana (23); Oregon (30); and Nevada (47).

In the economic well-being category, Idaho ranked No. 12. Top five states were North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Iowa and Minnesota, while the bottom five were Arizona, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Louisiana. Neighbors were as follows: Wyoming (6); Utah (7); Montana (17); Washington (19); Oregon (28); and Nevada (43).

Nationally, in 2016, 19 percent of children (14.1 million) lived in families with incomes below the poverty level.

In education Idaho was at No. 40, with the top five states being New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, and the bottom five Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alaska, Nevada and New Mexico.

Studies showed an alarming 65 percent of fourth graders in public schools in 2017 were reading below proficiency level.

Idaho tied with North Dakota (68 percent) for the highest percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds not in any type of school.

Nationwide, two-thirds (67 percent) of eighth graders were not proficient in math in 2017, which was the same as in 2007. Massachusetts students earned the best (50 percent proficient) while Louisiana had the worst rate at 81 percent.

In children’s health, Idaho ranked 26th with the top five being Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Washington and in the bottom five are Montana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Wyoming and Alaska. Oregon came in at 16, Utah at 19, and Nevada at 43.

Across the nation, 4 percent of children (3.3 million) lacked health insurance in 2016. The rate has dropped by more than half since 2010, meaning 2.6 million fewer children were uninsured in 2016.

In the family and community category, Idaho came in at No. 14. The top five states are Utah, New Hampshire, Vermont, North Dakota and Minnesota, while the bottom five are Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi. Neighboring states: Wyoming (6); Montana (10: Oregon (19) and Nevada (42).


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