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June 21, 2016
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Stephanie Hogenson (612) 978-7365
Minnesota Ranks #1 State in the Nation for Child Well-Being
Disparities Persist Despite Minnesota’s Top Ranking
ST. PAUL, Minn. –Minnesota ranks number one for the second year in a row in overall child well-being in the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. State and local investments and policy changes in recent years to increase health care access and improve economic stability have made a positive difference particularly in the economic well-being and health indicator rankings. However, not all Minnesota children share equally in those investments and positive outcomes. For far too long, Minnesota has continued to have some of the greatest disparities in health, education and economic outcomes for its children of color when compared to other states.
The Data Book examines overall child well-being and bases its state rankings on 16 indicators in four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. This year, Minnesota ranked 3rd in economic well-being (up from 5th last year), 1st in health (up from 2nd last year), 6th in education (same rank as the past two years), and 4th in family and community (same rank as last year). This is the seventh year Minnesota has ranked number one since the rankings started in 1990.
Despite Minnesota’s high rankings in this year’s Data Book, when the data is examined by race and ethnicity, it is evident that children of color and American Indian children in Minnesota experience greater barriers to success. Those barriers include being more likely to live in economically insecure families and neighborhoods and less likely to attend preschool, meet reading and math standards, and graduate high school on time. The changing demographics of children across the state and country illustrate the urgent need to address disparities in economic, health and education outcomes that threaten the future workforce. In Minnesota, all of the child population growth during the past decade is due to increases in the number of children of color who already account for nearly 30 percent of the state’s total child population. Since 2008, the base year for data comparisons in the Data Book, the total number of children who are Asian, Black, Hispanic or Latino, and of two or more races has grown by 14 percent while the number of White children has decreased by four percent.
“It’s evident that recent state and local investments that support children and families, especially policies and programs that increase family economic success and health care coverage and access, are paying off in improved outcomes for many Minnesota children,” said Bharti Wahi, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota (CDF-MN), the Minnesota KIDS COUNT grantee. “However, we cannot be content with a high ranking that masks chronic inequities for children of color in our state. We need to increase access to opportunity and reduce systemic barriers so that all Minnesota children have access to their basic needs and opportunities that help them thrive.”
The 2016 Data Book focuses on key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years, highlighting the fact that increased employment and post-recession economic gains have not yet reached low-income families and families of color. Minnesota and most states across the country have seen increased access to children’s health coverage and improved key outcomes for teenage children including lower rates of teens abusing drugs and alcohol, rates of teen births, and rates of child and teen deaths. However, highlights from the Data Book also make it clear that more work needs to be done to ensure children, especially children of color, live in economically secure families and can access resources that support healthy development:
“Ensuring that all Minnesotans benefit now from our robust, growing economy is vital to our future workforce and prosperity,” said Stephanie Hogenson, policy and research director at CDF-MN. “While the legislature this past session did agree to invest in expanded tax credits that would improve economic stability for thousands of low-income working families, they didn’t do enough to level the playing field for all children. To continue to be a leader in child well-being and secure future prosperity for our state we must adhere to the research and best practices that demonstrate improved outcomes for all of our children by supporting two-generation programs and policies that improve family economic security and contribute to creating a better educated and healthier workforce, such as job training and higher paying jobs, affordable child care, raising the Minnesota Family Investment Program cash grant and creating a paid family and medical leave insurance program. We know what works; we just need the stamina to continue making the right choices that improve outcomes for all Minnesota children.”
About the KIDS COUNT Data Book
The 2016 Data Book is available online at www.aecf.org. The KIDS COUNT Data Book features the latest data on child well-being for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. This information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of measures of child well-being. Data Center users can create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and view real-time information on mobile devices. CDF-MN also produces its own annual KIDS COUNT Data Book with state and county-level data. The 2016 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book will be released this fall.
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.
The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.