Kansas fares better than Missouri in ranking of kids’ well-being

07/23/2014 3:16 PM

07/23/2014 5:41 PM

Kids in Kansas are faring better than those in Missouri, according to an annual report that looks at the overall well-being of children in America.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation this week released the 25th edition of its Kids Count Data Book, which ranks states on overall child well-being based on four indicators — economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

The highest-ranked states were Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa. The lowest-ranked states were Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi.

Kansas ranked 15th while Missouri ranked 29th.

In general, Northern states fared higher in the rankings than Southern states.

When it came to economic well-being, conditions had worsened for Kansas and Missouri children in three categories. Both states saw an increase in percentage of children in poverty, children whose parents lacked secure employment and children living in households with high housing cost burdens.

Kansas saw an increase in the percentage of teens not in school and not working, while Missouri remained unchanged in the same period.

Both states saw improvement in education and health.

However, 7 percent of the children in both states were without health insurance in 2012, and about 6 percent of teens abused alcohol or drugs in 2011-12.

In Missouri, about 56 percent of children were not attending preschool, compared with 54 percent in Kansas in 2010-12.

When it came to the family and community indicator, Missouri and Kansas saw an increase of children in single-parent homes and children living in high-poverty areas.

Meanwhile, Missouri saw an improvement in the number of children in families with the head of the household lacking a high school diploma. Kansas was unchanged.

Both states saw an improvement in the number of teen births per 1,000 teens.

For more on the study, go to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s website at www.aecf.org.

To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to bcronkleton@kcstar.com.

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