Report Gives Louisiana Low Marks for Child Well-Being in Several Measures

(By Jacob Mathews/The Center Square) — An annual report by a nonprofit organization gave Louisiana poor grades for child welfare.

The nonprofit Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book ranked Louisiana 42nd in education, 48th in overall child well-being and family and community, and 49th in economic well-being and health categories.

The study compares pre-pandemic years to the most current, 2022, so education numbers across all of the U.S. have shown some erosion. However, Louisiana remained well below the national average for both before and following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eighth graders in Louisiana are getting worse in math, with the number of students not proficient in the subject jumping from 77% to 81% from 2019-2022. The U.S. average increased even more in that timespan, from 67% to 74%.

Fourth graders in Louisiana have become more proficient at reading since 2019, with the number of students not proficient in reading dropping 2% from 74%. The U.S. average increased as well, from 66% to 68%.

The high school graduation rates, comparing school year 2018-2019 to 2020-2021 showed improvement. The report says the number of students not graduating on time dropped 2% to 18%, still 4% above the national average which stayed the same over that timespan.

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Despite still being 49th, Louisiana’s economic well-being for children has improved in poverty rates, dropping 2%. The measure of parents who lack secure employment dropped 3%.

Louisiana is also ranked poorly in family and community, 48th, but improved in every other category. Children in single parent families dropped 1% from 47% to 46%. Teen births per 1,000 dropped from 28 to 24. The U.S. average dropped from 17 to 14.

The report also says the state did poorly in children’s health with a ranking of 49th. Child and teen deaths increased a whopping 11 per 1,000, from 36 to 47. The national average increased from 25 to 30.

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