Idaho reported 20th in child well-being

Idaho isn’t a bad place for kids to grow up, though the state does have some work ahead, according to a recent study.

In the 2013 Data Book State Trends in Child Well-Being, Idaho ranks number 20 in the U.S. The recently-released Kids Count book is put out by The Annie E. Casey Foundation and includes 2011 U.S. Census Bureau information.

Surrounding states overall rankings were as follows: Washington, 19; Oregon, 32; Utah, 14; California, 41; Wyoming, 15; Nevada, 48; and Montana, 28.

States were each ranked in four categories: economic well-being (Idaho was number 23); education (29); health (28); and family and community (10).

Economic well-being:

(Idaho ranks 23)

From 2005-11, the child poverty rate rose from 19 to 23 percent representing an increase of 3 million children. North Dakota was ranked number one and Mississippi was at 50.

The number of poor children continued to climb even as the unemployment rate was gradually declining. In 2011, California had the highest percentage of children, 52 percent, living in households spending more than 30 percent of income for housing, whereas North Dakota had the lowest, 21 percent.

Education: (Idaho ranks 29)

Massachusetts ranked number one in this area while Nevada is at number 50.

From 2009 to 2011, more than half of 3-4 year olds across the nation were not enrolled in preschool, representing 4.3 million children.

In 2011, 68 percent of fourth graders in public school were reading below proficient levels; in 2005 the figure was 70 percent.

Among the states, the percentage of students not graduating from high school in four years ranged from a low of 9 percent in Vermont and Wisconsin to a high of 42 percent in Nevada in 2009/10.

Health: (Idaho ranks 28)

In this category Maine comes in at number one and Montana at 50.

In 18 states the percentage of children lacking heath care coverage was 5 percent less in 2011 than in 2005. Massachusetts and Vermont had the lowest rate of uninsured children, 2 percent, compared to a high of 16 percent in Nevada.

In 2010-11, 7 percent of teens ages 12-17 had abused or were dependent on alcohol and drugs during the past year, declining from 8 percent in 2005-06.

Family and Community: (Idaho 10)

New Hampshire is number one in this category while Mississippi is at the bottom and Idaho came in at its highest ranking at number 10.

Thirty-five percent of all children lived in single-parent families in 2011, representing an increase in more 3 million children since 2005.

In 2010, there were nearly 368,000 babies born to females ages 15-19. That translates to a birth rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens, which represents a decrease from 2000, when the rate was 48 births per 1,000 teens.

For the full report see www.aecf.org.

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