Kentucky ranks 35th in child well-being, does best in health

A new report finds that Kentucky ranks 35th in overall child well-being in the United States.

That’s according to the 2016 Kids County Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Kentucky Youth Advocates.

The ranking is based on four factors: health, education, family and community, and economic well-being.

According to the report, Kentucky does the best in health for kids, ranking at number 16.

A big part of that ranking is due to the number of kids covered by insurance.

According to the report, the percent of children without insurance fell by 43% from 2008 to 2014. Dr. Terry Brooks, the executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates says in Kentucky only 4% of kids lack health insurance coverage.

Along with health insurance, the rate of child and teen deaths, the percent of low-birthweight babies, and the percent of teens abusing alcohol or drugs all showed improvement since 2008.

In education, Kentucky ranks at 27 and is considered to be lagging behind national standards. Brooks says according to testing, 3 out of 4 fourth graders failed to meet national proficiency standings in reading, while almost 3 out of 4 eighth graders failed to meet national proficiency standards in math.

Family and community comes in at rank 37. According to the report, 35% of children now live in single-parents families and more children, 16%, are living in high-poverty areas. Teen birth rates in the state are also some of the highest in the nation, but have dropped 34% from 2008 to 2014.

Economic well-being comes in dead last at rank 38. The biggest factor is poverty as more than 1 in 4 children in Kentucky lives belong the poverty line. Kentucky also ranks in the bottom 10 for the percent of kids living in families where neither parents have a full-time, year-round job.

Brooks hopes the data from this report will bring bipartisan solutions to help improve the lives of kids in Kentucky.

To read the full report, click here.

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