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Arkansas 42nd in national child well-being rankings

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s (AECF) 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows Arkansas has improved in the nationwide child well-being ranking system to 42nd, up from 47th just one year ago.
LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s (AECF) 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows Arkansas has improved in the nationwide child well-being ranking system to 42nd, up from 47th just one year ago.

The Data Book ranks states in four areas: Economic Well-Being; Education; Family and Community; and Health, in addition to an overall ranking. Sixteen different indicators were used to determine each state’s rank in the four domains, a change from previous annual rankings based on 10.

Arkansas has shown improvements in healthcare and education, proving that investments made by the state in those areas over the past few years—including commitments to pre-K programs and ARKids First—have paid off for Arkansas children, according to a release from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

According to the rankings, more Arkansas children are attending pre-K programs and the number of eighth graders who are proficient in math has increased. When it comes to health indicators, the number of children without health insurance is down 22 percent since 2008.

The number of child and teen deaths has decreased by 21 percent since 2005, and the number of teens who use drugs has gone down 27 percent in that same time.

“One of the areas we seem to be showing a lot of progress in is education,” says Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. “Since Lake View, the state has made some investments in education, like quality pre-K programs, that are really paying off. It’s also clear from these numbers that ARKids First is doing a better job of making sure our kids stay healthy.”

The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book indicators at a glance:
  • 39th in Economic Well-Being (including children in poverty; children whose parents lack secure employment; children living in households with a high cost burden; and teens not in school and not working)
  • 34th in Education (including children not attending preschool; fourth graders not proficient in reading; eighth graders not proficient in math; and high school students not graduating on time)
  • 37th in Health (including low-birthweight babies; children without health insurance; child and teen deaths per 100,000; and teens who abuse drugs or alcohol)
  • 45th in Family and Community (including children in single-parent families; children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma; children living in high-poverty areas; and teen births per 1,000)
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