On the plus side, infant mortality has reached the lowest level in recorded state history, according to the findings. And even as employer-sponsored health insurance in North Carolina has declined, overall coverage rates among children have been sustained by expansions in Medicaid and Health Choice, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
But this year’s report also notes that one in four children in North Carolina lives in poverty with families under a significant financial strain. The report card also acknowledges:
“Our leaders face the continuing challenge of improving the economy while protecting the most vulnerable portions of our population, especially our children. In this regard, an important disconnect is worth noting. In virtually all surveys of “business friendliness,” North Carolina ranks among the top five states. However, on virtually all measures of child well-being, North Carolina ranks between 35th and 45th in the nation.The two—business climate and child well-being—are not independent.The future prosperity of our state depends on the health and well-being of our next generation. The challenge for all North Carolinians is to make our state the best place to raise a child, just as it is a great state to conduct business.”
This weekend on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon, Laila Bell, Action for Children’s Director of Research and Data, joins us to discuss childhood well-being and a study that finds hunger cost North Carolina more than $5.4 billion in lost productivity and reduced outcomes last year.
For a preview of Bell’s radio interview, click below. To see the complete 2011 Child Health Report Card, click here.