In a new report released on June 27, Louisiana dropped from #48 to #49 in the nation for child well-being in a composition score based on poverty, health and education.
The Kids Count Data Book is an annual study released by the private research organization, the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Mississippi placed #48 while New Mexico was ranked last at #50 in the nation.
National averages include 19% children in poverty, 8.2% low birth-weight, 5% teen drug abuse and 35% single-parent families.
Louisiana under-performed most national averages in the 4 main categories and sub-categories outlined below.
The drop and overall low placement for the Pelican State is largely due to its #50 ranking in the first category of “economic well-being” with a high percentage of children living in poverty. The category also weighs secure employment of parents, high housing costs and teens neither working or in school.
Family and Community
Louisiana was ranked #47 in this category based on single-parent households, parent education and teen births.
The state also placed #47 in the state-to-state education comparison. The score included young children not in school, grade school reading proficiency, middle school math proficiency and high school graduation.
Louisiana fared slightly better in children’s healthcare where it landed at #44 in the nation. The score combined low birth-weight, health insurance, drug abuse and child/teen deaths.
The study serves as a reminder that more can and should be done to elevate the well-being of children in Louisiana. Public officials, voters, teachers and parents must continue to strive to do better for our communities and look at alternate approaches to what has been done in the past. The people of Louisiana are resilient and will prove to the nation that we can and will do better for our children and grandchildren.
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” -Winston Churchill