2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book: 2018 State Trends in Child Well-Being

Jun 27, 2018
  • Description

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book opens with a special focus: the approaching 2020 census, which it warns is mired in challenges and at risk of missing at least 1 million kids under the age of 5. Such a discrepancy would put hundreds of millions of federal dollars at risk and, in doing so, underfund programs that are critical for family stability and opportunity.

With this possibility pending, the publication calls on leaders to take five critical steps to ensure that every kid is counted in 2002. These are: 1) maximizing the Census Bureau's capacity to count young kids; 2) fully funding state and local outreach campaigns focused on the parents of young children; 3) expanding the pool of trusted messengers who can reach hard-to-count families; 4) ensuring internet access for families least likely to have it at home; and 5) addressing privacy and confidentiality concerns.

Nationally, the Data Book shows continued improvement for kids and families in the area of economic well-being. Fewer children are living in poverty, more parents are employed and fewer families are spending a disproportionate amount of their income on housing costs. Yet, across the other three domains — health, family and community, and education — results are mixed.

More locally, the Data Book's signature state rankings reveal sharp regional patterns. In overall child well-being, five of the top 10 states are in the Northeast, with New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New Jersey claiming spots 1, 2 and 3. States in Appalachia, as well as the Southeast and Southwest — where families have the lowest levels of household income — populate the bottom of the overall rankings, with Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico coming in at 48, 49 and 50, respectively.