State Trends in the 2018 KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK

In this year’s annual Annie E. Casey KIDS COUNT Data Book, New Hampshire ranked number one state for overall child well-being. This overall ranking comes from 16 different indicators in four different domains of child well-being: economic well-being, education, family and community, and health. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, these indicators represent the best available data to measure child well-being.

Here is how the Granite State stacks up:

Third in Economic Well-Being
New Hampshire was ranked better than the U.S. average in all four economic well-being rankings. NH has the lowest rates of child poverty in the nation at 8 percent, with 20,000 New Hampshire children living below the federal poverty line. 22% of NH children are shown as children whose parents lack secure employment – lower than the U.S. average of 28%, 25% of NH kids are living in a household with a high housing cost burden – lower than the U.S. average of 32%, and 5% of NH teens are not in school and not working – lower than the U.S. average of 7%.

Fourth in Education
New Hampshire ranked 11th in the nation for the number of 3-and-4-year olds not enrolled in school. Fifty percent of young children are not receiving early education, which research has demonstrated is critical for development and long-term success. 57% of NH 4th graders are not proficient in reading, 55% of NH 8th graders are not proficient in math, and 12% of NH high school students do not graduate in time. There’s still work to be done to ensure the Granite State’s education system supports our young people.

Second in Health
New Hampshire’s substance misuse epidemic is a continued area of concern in the Granite State. Research shows that fighting adverse childhood experiences in early childhood help to mitigate future substance misuse. New Hampshire has better than average ratings on low birth-weight babies and children without health insurance, with both numbers lower than the U.S. average. However, we have a higher than average child and teen death per 100,000 rating at 23. Our rating for teens who abuse alcohol or drugs is the same as the national average. We know that our lawmakers should be working hard to reduce adolescent drug misuse.

Second in Family and Community
The number of children living in single-parent families, 29%, and the number of children living in high-poverty areas, 2%, have both shown negative trends since 2010, when those numbers were 27% and 1% respectively. Our rating of 5% of children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma is lower than the U.S. average of 14%. We also have a rating of 9 teen births out of 1000, which is lower than the U.S. average of 20.

There is a lot to celebrate when looking at this data for our overall child well-being. New Hampshire is clearly a great state to raise a family. However, there’s still more work to be done.

Up to this point, in New Hampshire, local communities have stepped up to the plate to safeguard child well-being even when state investments are lacking. Going forward, our lawmakers must continue to support all Granite State children, regardless of their income level, race, or residence, to keep our number one ranking and ensure New Hampshire is the best state it can be for our children and young families.  Heading into the next legislative session, they should be looking to address some major issues facing our state when it comes to supporting children, including child protection and the continuing substance misuse crisis.

Supporting whole families with access to services will help to end these crises and ensure New Hampshire children are given what they need to thrive now and in the future. Backing a system of Family Resource Centers and increasing access to home visiting, both proven strategies to protect children and families, are some first steps our lawmakers should take to keep these rankings high.

Check out New Hampshire’s numbers here!

You can view the whole Data Book at: http://www.aecf.org/resources/2018-kids-count-data-book/