For the second year, California ranks 41st out of 50 states when it comes to the overall well-being of children, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 Kids Count Data Book to be released today.
The Data Book, released in partnership with Oakland-based nonprofit Children Now, ranks each state on 16 key indicators across four areas: economic well-being, education, health and family and community. In health, California slipped from 23rd to 29th this year, according to the report which relies on data from 2010 and 2011. In all other categories, the state remains closer to the bottom. Despite the lower rankings, the state did improve its overall ranking in one area, education, moving to 39th from 43rd last year. In San Mateo County, children are succeeding in education and have greater access to health care than in other areas of the state.
“The Kids Count Data Book shows California’s leaders aren’t giving enough attention to the fundamental issues undermining our children’s — and our state’s — success,” Children Now President Ted Lempert wrote in a prepared statement. “It’s a mis-prioritization problem. While our state ranks 11th nationally in per capita state and local tax revenues, we are well below the national average in per capita spending on education but second in per capita spending on corrections/prisons.”
California ranks 46th when it comes to economic well-being — the lowest of the scores given to the state. Twenty-three percent of the state’s children live in poverty, a number that has increased from 19 percent since 2005. Thirty-six percent of the state’s children live in a family in which their parents lack secure employment. In San Mateo County, 9.1 percent of children live in poverty, according to kidsdata.org.
With a stagnant ranking of 42 in family and community, 34 percent of children in California live in a single-parent home.
In education, California is ranked 39th. About 75 percent of the state’s fourth graders are not proficient in reading, 75 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in math, both leading to students who are not graduating on time, according to the Data Book. Statewide, the report shows 22 percent of students aren’t graduating on time.
San Mateo County’s scores are a bit better. Seventy-one percent of fourth grade students scored proficient or better in English, according to the 2012 Standardized Testing and Reporting Program. Using the same numbers, 51 percent of local eighth graders scored proficient or higher in algebra. Locally, 11 percent of students dropped out of high school compared to the California average of 13.2 percent, according to a statewide report released in April. Graduation rates statewide were at 78.5 percent for the class of 2011-12. San Mateo County fared better with an 83.3 percent graduation rate.
Health is where California is ranked best at 23. California reports 6.8 percent of infants born at a low weight. The state has a ration of 21 child and teen deaths per 100,000, according to the Data Book. Also, 9 percent reportedly are abusing substances. Only 8 percent of California kids lack health insurance. San Mateo County fares a much better with 1.3 percent of children not having health insurance.
To download the full report visit datacenter.kidscount.org/.
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