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Minnesota top in new study of child well-being: State improved in 3 of 10 areas despite rise in child poverty

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Minnesota top in new study of child well-being: State improved in 3 of 10 areas despite rise in child poverty

Despite steep rise in child poverty and uninsured children Minnesota Ranks at top of new study of Child Well Being National KIDS COUNT Data Book.
A New study released today puts Minnesota at the top of the nation in child well-being, however, Children's Defense Fund Minnesota officials cautioned that the findings of the National "Kids Count" Data Book leave reasons for concern.


Despite steep rise in child poverty and uninsured children Minnesota Ranks at top of new study of Child Well Being National KIDS COUNT Data Book.

A New study released today puts Minnesota at the top of the nation in child well-being, however, Children's Defense Fund Minnesota officials cautioned that the findings of the National "Kids Count" Data Book leave reasons for concern. They said many of the trends found in study indicate a backward slide and should give policy makers in Minnesota and across the country reason to act.

The annual national data book, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, found that children in Minnesota did worse in 2004 and 2005 than they did in 2000 in five of 10 areas studied, and improved in only three areas. The Minnesota Kids Count Data Book, released in May, found similar trends, including a steep rise in child poverty in the state, and 79,000 children without health care coverage.

"We are pleased that Minnesota rates highly compared to the rest of the country in child well-being," said CDF Minnesota Director Jim Koppel. "But it's important to point out that Minnesota saw a 33 percent increase in child poverty, and thousands more kids without health insurance during the period studied. We've still got a lot of work to do to ensure that our number ranking means that we are meeting the needs of Minnesota's children."

Key Minnesota Findings
The National Kids Count Data Book used the most recent available data to measure progress in 10 key areas of child well-being in Minnesota and other states since the year 2000. On the positive side, the state saw its rates of infant mortality rate drop by 16 percent, teen births decrease by 10 percent, and its number of teens dropping out of school drop by 43 percent. There was no change in Minnesota's child death rate or teen death rate.

Cause for Concern for State

However, Koppel said, in half of the areas tracked, Minnesota did worse, in some cases dramatically.

* Children living in poverty rose 33 percent, far beyond the national average increase.
* The number of low birthweight babies rose by 7 percent.
* The number of kids whose parents don't have permanent full-time jobs rose 17 percent
* The number of teens not in school or the work force increased 25 percent
* Children living in single parent homes rose by 19 percent.

"We know from study after study that investments in our children's well being come back many fold over a child's lifetime in the form of better health, better school performance, and better preparation for the work force," Koppel said. "Ultimately investments in children benefit our schools, our communities, our taxpayers and our economy.
The entire National Kids Count Data book can be found at www.kidscount.org.

Kids Count is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Children's Defense Minnesota is part of the national Kids Count Network, and publishes a Minnesota version of the Kids Count Data Book, which is available at www.cdf-mn.org .
 

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