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June 24, 2013
In the newly released Annie E. Casey Foundation 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book Minnesota maintained its decade-long overall ranking in the top five states according to the index of child well-being. However, key health and education indicators for Minnesota children were concerning.
In addition to the overall ranking, the report rates states in four areas of child well-being: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. Minnesota’s child health ranking went from 7th last year to 15th this year. Between 2008 and 2011 the percentage of children in the nation without health insurance decreased by 30 percent, but in Minnesota it remained virtually unchanged. 80,000 Minnesota children, or six percent, remain uninsured. Another indicator where Minnesota fell behind the nation is in education. The percentage of fourth graders not proficient in reading nationwide decreased from 70 percent in 2005 to 68 percent in 2011. In Minnesota the percentage of fourth graders not proficient in reading increased over the same time period from 62 percent to 65 percent.
“While Minnesota children continue to do well compared to children in other states, the data show that critical investments are still needed to ensure that all our children thrive,” said Alexandra Fitzsimmons, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota’s Legislative Affairs and Advocacy Director. “We need to do everything we can, and as early as we can, to place children on the path to childhood, academic and lifetime success. The health and well-being of all, not most, Minnesota children should be our number one goal."
In the area of economic well-being, the nation’s children improved slightly from 2010 to 2011, but the negative impact of the recession remains evident. In 2011, the national child poverty rate stood at 23 percent, or 16.4 million children — an increase of 3 million since 2005. A few key economic well-being indicators show many Minnesota children are also affected by economic insecurity:
Minnesota did see gains for many teen indicators with improvements in the number of eighth graders proficient in math, teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, and teen birth rates. Nationally, from 2005 to 20011 the teen birth rate dropped by 15 percent to a historic low.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book is produced and disseminated annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The full report with state-by-state rankings and supplemental data will be available at 12:01 a.m. EDT, June 24, 2013 at http://datacenter.kidscount.org. Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota also produces its own annual KIDS COUNT Data Book with state and county-level data. The 2013 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book will be released later this summer.
Follow the Annie E. Casey Foundation on this issue on Twitter @aecfkidscount and on Facebook.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.