How Much Do Texas' Kids Count?

State ranks 44th in child well-being

How Much Do Texas' Kids Count?

Texas ranks 44th among states in overall children's health and well-being, the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports in its annual Kids Count Data Book. Texas' child poverty rate is higher than the national rate, with one-in-four children living in poverty; the state ranks 49th in the country in children without health insurance, with 14% of kids uninsured.

Those are among the sobering stats contained in the annual survey of children's health in the U.S. The Data Book tracks well-being by charting four key indicators within four broader categories – economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Texas scored best in education factors, ranking 32nd in the country, while Texas' children fared worst in family and community indicators, where the state ranks 47th. There, while the number of teen births per 1,000 girls has declined (61 for every 1,000 in 2009), as has the number of children in families where the head of household lacks a high school diploma (23% in 2010 vs. 25% in 2005), the number of children living in high-poverty areas increased 31% since 2000; and from 2005-2010, the number of children being raised in single-parent homes increased 13%.

Other notable stats from the Kids Count Data Book: 31% of Texas children have parents who "lack secure employment," 26% of the state's kids live in poverty, and the number of low-birthweight babies born here increased 2% from 2005 to 2009. Find all of the Texas stats here.

"With rankings like these, this is not the Texas I want for my child, or yours. The numbers cry out for a change in direction for Texas' kids," Frances Deviney, Texas Kids Count director at the Center for Public Policy Priorities said in a press release. "Texas accounts for one of every 11 kids in this country. The choices we make now to improve our kids' lives will drive not only the future of Texas, but the future of our country. Texas needs to prioritize its policy choices by investing in children first since we are producing the next generation of leaders."

The top three highest-ranking states for child well-being, according to the new data book, are New Hampshire (1), Massachusetts (2), and Vermont (3); rounding out the bottom are Nevada (48), New Mexico (49), and Mississippi (50). The entire Data Book can be found here.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Center for Public Policy Priorities, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Data Book, Legislature, CPPP, children's health, poverty, education, Frances Deviney

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