Wednesday, June 27
Sheila Vargas, Public Relations Director
NEW HAMPSHIRE IS THE NUMBER ONE STATE FOR CHILD WELL-BEING
National data mask a great deal of state and regional variations in child well-being
CONCORD— New Hampshire ranks number one in the United States for overall child well-being, according to the 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation — a landmark achievement for the Granite State.
National data mask a great deal of state and regional variations in child well-being. A child’s chances of thriving depend not only on individual, family and community characteristics but also on the state in which she or he is born and raised. States vary considerably in their wealth and other resources. State policy choices and investments also strongly influence children’s chances for success.
“Up to this point, in New Hampshire, local communities have stepped up to the plate to ensure child well-being even when state investments are lacking,” said Rebecca Woitkowski, early childhood policy coordinator at New Futures Kids Count. “Going forward, our lawmakers should be looking to address some major issues facing our state when it comes to supporting children, including child protection and the continuing opiate crisis.”
The annual KIDS COUNT Data Book uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being and family and community — that represent what children need most to thrive. New Hampshire ranks:
- Third in economic well-being. New Hampshire had the lowest rate of child poverty at 8 percent in the nation, with 20,000 New Hampshire children living below the federal poverty line. However, that number doesn’t necessarily take into account the high cost of living in New Hampshire, as discussed by the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute.
- Fourth in education. New Hampshire ranked 11th in the nation for the number of 3- and 4-year- olds not attending school. Fifty percent of young children are not receiving early education, which research has demonstrated is critical for development and long-term success.
- Second in health. Five percent of New Hampshire’s teens abused alcohol and drugs, giving New Hampshire a rank of 24th in the country for that indicator, by far New Hampshire’s lowest ranking. The Granite State’s opiate epidemic is a continued area of concern. Research shows that fighting adverse childhood experiences in early childhood helps to mitigate future substance misuse.
- Second in family and community. The number of children living in single-parent families, 29 percent, and the number of children living in high-poverty areas, 2 percent, have both shown negative trends since 2010, when those were 27 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
“Lawmakers must support families as a whole to continue to ensure New Hampshire children are given what they need to thrive,” said Woitkowski. “Supporting a system of Family Resource Centers and access to home visiting are some first steps our lawmakers should take to keep New Hampshire a great state to live, work and raise a family.”
The 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book will be available June 27 at 12:01 a.m. EDT at http://www.aecf.org. Additional information is available at www.aecf.org/databook, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. Journalists interested in creating maps, graphs and rankings in stories about the Data Book can use the KIDS COUNT Data Center at http://datacenter.kidscount.org.
About New Futures
New Futures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates, educates and collaborates to improve the health and wellness of all New Hampshire residents. Learn more at new-futures.org.
About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org. KIDS COUNT® is a registered trademark of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.