This is from a statement released this morning by the folks at Action for Children:
“(Raleigh, N.C.) — North Carolina ranks 38th in key indicators of child health and well-being, according to data released by the Annie E Casey Foundation in its 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book. The state fell from 37th in 2010.
The 2011 Data Book paints a picture of mixed progress for North Carolina children. In a state that consistently receives high marks as business-friendly, more children and families now face greater risk of economic insecurity as a result the recession. Indicators of well-being, which typically lag behind economic indicators, have yet to capture the full impact of the recession, and may not do so for a number of years.
Teen birth rate declines.
The number of births to teens ages 15 to 19 declined 17 percent since 2000. In 2008, there were 49 births per 1,000 teens in North Carolina.
Share of teens not in school and not high school graduates improves.
Just five years ago, North Carolina ranked 37th in the nation for the number of teens ages 16 to 19 who are not in school and not high school graduates, today that rank has improved to 29th. The share of teens not in school and not high school graduates has declined by more than half-from 16 to 7 percent-between 2000 and 2009.
Rate of low birthweight births continues to stall.
The percent of newborns weighing less than 2,500 grams (about 5.5 pounds) has been largely unchanged for much of the past decade. In 2008, low birthweight infants accounted for 9.1 percent of North Carolina births.
Child poverty reaches highest level in a decade.
The number of children living in families earning less than the federal poverty line, $22,050 for a family of four in 2009, grew 21 percent since 2000 to 505,000 in 2009.
“While important gains have been made for North Carolina’s children, clear challenges still exist,” said Laila Bell, Director of Research and Data at Action for Children North Carolina, home of the North Carolina KIDS COUNT project. “In 2009, half a million children in North Carolina lived in poverty-a particularly sobering statistic since we know that poverty affects children’s academic, health and future labor market outcomes.”
According to data in the 22nd annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, the economic and social gains for children that occurred across the 1990s stalled, even before the economic downturn began. This year’s Data Book reports an eighteen percent increase in the U.S. child poverty rate between 2000 and 2009. This increase means that 2.5 million more American children are living below the federal poverty line ($21,756 for a family of two adults and two children), effectively wiping out the gains made on this important measure in the late 1990′s.
In an ongoing effort to track the impact of the recession, there are two new indicators in this year’s data set — the number of children impacted by foreclosure and households with at least one unemployed parent. In North Carolina 90,000, or two percent, of the state’s children were impacted by foreclosure since 2007. In 2010, an estimated 253,000, or 12 percent, of children in this state lived in households where there was at least one parent who was eligible for and or seeking employment, but was unemployed at the time the data were collected.
“Foreclosure and parental unemployment threaten the well-being of our children,” said Bell. “Evidence shows that stable, economically secure homes are critical components of child development, and are essential to children’s life success.”
Community-Level Data Available
In addition to the 10 key measures tracked in the Data Book, the KIDS COUNT Data Center (http://datacenter.kidscount.org) provides easy, online access to the latest child well-being data on hundreds of indicators by state, county, city, and school district. It serves as a comprehensive source of information for policymakers, advocates, members of the media, and others concerned with addressing the needs of North Carolina children, families, and communities.
Visit the Data Center to download the complete Data Book, and create interactive maps and graphs, or view from your smartphone, such as the Droid, BlackBerry, or iPhone using the new mobile site launched in conjunction with this year’s Data Book.”