This week, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 30th edition of the KIDS COUNT® Data Book. The annual Data Book uses 16 indicators of well-being to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being and family and community — and calculate an overall rank.
Kentucky ranks 34th in the nation in overall child well-being, 37th in economic well-being, 27th in education, 25th in health, and 43rd in the family and community domain. For this project, a rank of 1 represents best in the nation, whereas a rank of 50 represents worst in the nation.
Here are the top 6 takeaways for Kentucky kids from the 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book:
- Though child poverty has fallen by 15 percent from 2010 to 2017, Kentucky is ranked in the bottom 10 states in this indicator at 43rd in the nation. The families of the 223,000 Kentucky kids living in poverty need access to proven tools like a state earned income tax credit, child care supports, and paid family leave to lift themselves up economically.
- Kentucky ranks 2nd lowest in the nation for percent of high school students not graduating on time with 9 in 10 high school seniors receiving their diploma within four years, a critical component for entering today’s workforce.
- Now at 59 percent, the rate of Kentucky children ages 3 and 4 not attending school grew by 4 percent from 2009-2011 to 2015-2017. Increased access to affordable and high-quality early learning supports will prepare more kids for future skill development and educational success.
- The percent of children whose parents lack full-time, year-round employment fell by 16 percent from 2010 to 2017 to approximately one on every three children (31 percent). Supplemental data shows that in 2017, 94 percent of Kentucky families with children had at least one caregiver working, but many rely on part-time or seasonal jobs. Employment security impacts a family’s financial stability and children’s healthy development and educational achievement.
- The teen birth rate fell by 37 percent from 2010 to 2017. Despite progress, Kentucky is ranked 46th in the nation for this indicator with 29 per 1,000 births to teens. Teen births can have long-term negative effects on both the mother and child’s health and future success.
- The percent of Kentucky children without insurance feel by 43 percent from 2010 to 2017 and is now at a slightly lower rate (4 percent) than the nation (5 percent). Kentucky can continue these coverage gains through diligent efforts to get all eligible children covered and by minimizing the impact on children of any changes made to Medicaid.