More Indiana children living in poverty but state rates well in education, 2018 Kids Count Data Book says

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its 2018 Kids Count Data Book, which offers an assessment of how U.S. children are doing based on 16 indicators. (Courtesy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation)
This graphic illustrates the overall well-being of children in all 50 U.S. states. (Courtesy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation)
This map compares U.S. states based the economic well-being of children within their boundaries. (Courtesy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Indiana ranks 28th among the 50 U.S. states for child well-being, but more children are living in poverty than in the past few years. We’re 14th in education, but rank 31st in health and 32nd in family and community.

That’s the assessment from the national 2018 Kids Count Data Book, which is being released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual report card measures a combined total of 16 indicators of child well-being in four areas – family and community, economics, education and health, a news release from the Indiana Youth Institute said.

Despite low unemployment rates and signs of a strong economy, the 2018 Kids Count Data Book shows some Indiana families are struggling financially.

The book reports that nearly 20 percent of Indiana children — about 301,000 children — live in poverty, putting the state 31st worst in the nation for child poverty, the news release said. That is Indiana’s lowest ranking in that category since 2010, the news release said.

Indiana also ranked 27th in the nation for the percentage of children living in families without secure parental employment — about 447,000 children, the news release said. The data book found 15.4 percent of Indiana children live in working-poor households.

Indiana’s child poverty rate for all children is slightly higher than the national average but significantly greater among African-American and Hispanic children, the news release said. African-American children in Indiana are three times more likely to live in poverty than white children.

Indiana’s child poverty rate has declined slightly over the past three years, but the state dropped in national rankings in that category during that time period because other states have reduced their child poverty levels even more, the news release said.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation also cautioned that states need to take measures to ensure all children are counted during the upcoming 2020 census.

Foundation officials worry the number of children could be undercounted during the census because of changes to offer a digital survey and to ask questions about people’s citizenship, the news release said.

Nationally, an estimated 4.5 million children live in neighborhoods where obtaining an accurate census count may be difficult, including about 9 percent of Indiana children ages 4 and younger, the news release said.

An undercount hurts states because the number of children in a state and community is a key factor in the allocation of federal funds for programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program, Head Start and foster care, the news release said.

LEARN MORE

To view the 2018 Kids Count Data Book compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, go to www.aecf.org/databook.

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