Minnesota, N.D. again nab top 10 spots for child healthMinnesota and North Dakota retained their titles as two of the top 10 states in the nation for child health and well-being, according to recent rankings from the Annie E. Casey 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book.
By: Kyle Potter, Forum News Service
FARGO – Minnesota and North Dakota retained their titles as two of the top 10 states in the nation for child health and well-being, according to recent rankings from the Annie E. Casey 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book.
Thanks to a still-surging economy, North Dakota stayed at its No. 6 spot from last year. Minnesota moved up one spot to No. 4, reversing a steady decline since its No. 1 ranking in 2007.
The annual surveys weigh a number of different metrics, from economic factors to education, community and health. With few exceptions, North Dakota and Minnesota outperformed much of the rest of the nation in the 2013 KIDS COUNT data. New Hampshire took the top spot, followed by Vermont and Massachusetts. New Mexico was the worst state in child and health well-being in 2013.
North Dakota’s economy propelled it to No. 1 for economic well-being for children. North Dakota ranked first for the lowest percentage of children in poverty – just 13 percent, compared to the national average of 23 percent – as well as for the percentage of children living in households where no one has full-time, year-round work.
After being battered by the recession, Minnesota’s economic well-being rank bumped up since last year, from seventh to sixth. Fifteen percent of Minnesota children were in poverty, according to KIDS COUNT data, among the lowest in the nation.
Minnesota topped North Dakota for the number of teens between 16 and 19 years old who weren’t working or attending school.
Just a third of 3- to 4-year-olds in North Dakota were enrolled in nursery school or preschool, among the lowest in the nation. Two-thirds of North Dakota fourth-graders aren’t proficient in reading.
Overall, North Dakota ranked 16th in education in this year’s KIDS COUNT data – the same rank as last year. Due to slightly better preschool participation and eighth-grade math proficiency, Minnesota nabbed the No. 7 spot in the nation.
Eighty-eight percent of high school students in both states graduated on time, second only to Vermont and Wisconsin, which tied for first with 91 percent.
Children’s health was by far North Dakota’s worst category, where it slid to No. 25 in the nation. The state was in the middle of the pack for many health-related measures, including teenage alcohol and drug abuse and teen birth rates. The state’s death rate for children and teens ages 1 to 19 was among the worst in the nation.
Minnesota was No. 15 in the nation for child health.
Just 6 percent of children in both states were uninsured, according to the data.
Family and community
North Dakota and Minnesota ranked fourth and fifth in the nation, respectively, for family and community health.
North Dakota grabbed the No. 3 spot for its share of single-parent families – 28 percent – and Minnesota was just behind with 29 percent. North Dakota had the lowest percentage of families where the head of the household had not graduated from high school – 5 percent. It was 8 percent in Minnesota.
For every 1,000 teen girls in North Dakota, 28 gave birth, giving the state a teen birth rate that tied it for No. 19 in the nation. Nineteen of every 1,000 Minnesota girls gave birth. Arkansas and Mississippi had the worst teen birth rates in the nation – roughly 50 for every 1,000.