Minnesota KIDS COUNT
2012 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book: "Children Across Minnesota"
Families living and working in greater Minnesota desire the same things as families in the rest of the state - to work, provide for their families, and ensure their children have opportunities to become successful.
This year’s 2012 Minnesota KIDS COUNT Data Book entitled Children Across Minnesota explores the unique challenges of families living in Greater Minnesota to address the often overlooked realities of living in rural areas. According to the Data book, access and affordability are two critical issues for families. For example, access to health care, food, jobs, and child care is limited in many regions throughout the state. Moreover when these resources do exist, many families are unable to afford them because their jobs do not pay sufficient wages or offer critical benefits.
The issues facing rural families and children are important to all Minnesotans because the state’s success is defined by how well all children are prepared for the future, not just children from the Twin Cities or other metropolitan areas.
In addition, there is a consequence of limited access and affordability when children grow up unprepared to work, lead, or carry on the vision of prosperity Minnesota needs. According to the Data book, the child population in Minnesota has not grown in the past 10 years. In fact, in many places, populations are dwindling. “As a result, the state cannot afford to lose even one child to poor health or academic failure because the skills, abilities, and ingenuity of the younger generation are essential to ensure continued prosperity,” says Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota Research Director, Kara Arzamendia.
The annual Minnesota KIDS COUNT publication provides state data based on a variety of indicators that show the well-being of Minnesota’s children and families. By providing policymakers and citizens with benchmarks of child well-being, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children. KIDS COUNT is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.