A Roadmap to Improve Child Well-Being in Louisiana

Feb 03, 2020
  • Description

THE ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION uses data from 16 different indicators of child well-being to create an overall ranking for all 50 states in its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book. The 16 indicators are organized into four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The Foundation converts the data for each indicator to a standard score, and the standard scores are then added together to create a standard score for each domain. These domain-level standard scores are then added together to produce each state's unique score. These scores are then ranked, with 1 being the best and 50 being the worst. States do not tie for an overall ranking, but can tie for rankings on specific indicators. For example, Louisiana ranked 49th overall in child well-being, meaning that 48 states had better standard scores based on all 16 indicators. However, it tied with 11 other states for 6th place for the percentage of children without health insurance, while four states tied for second place. As a result, improving by just one ranking on this measure would mean moving from 6th place to 2nd place. In this instance, a relatively small change (connecting an additional 7,900 children to health insurance) would result in a big improvement on our ranking. In instances where several states share a ranking, this report describes what it would take to improve by "1+" or "5+" rankings. It is also important to note that Louisiana's rankings are dependent on the performance of other states. Our estimates of what it would take to improve a ranking are based on point-in-time data reported in the 2019 Data Book; changes in other states' outcomes (positive or negative) will affect Louisiana's future rankings. This means that even if Louisiana improves on an indicator from one year to the next, its ranking may not rise if other states improve at the same, or faster, rate.