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KIDS COUNT Data Book 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

South Carolina ranks 45th in the nation for child well-being according to the 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book, based on 2011 data. The KIDS COUNT project, initiated by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, compiles information on child well-being and ranks states in four areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

The 2013 report reveals that the economy has significantly impacted the lives of South Carolina’s children as a result of high unemployment rates. In just one year, the state’s national ranking for child economic well-being dropped from 34 to 44. Sue Williams, chief executive officer of Children’s Trust, is hopeful that new jobs brought by Gov. Nikki Haley “will provide the relief and financial security our families and children need,” but remains clear that “we have a long road ahead of us.”

Overall, South Carolina’s rankings for education, health, and family and community also remain low despite gains within each category. For education, more children now attend preschool, more fourth-graders read at grade level and more eighth graders are proficient in math. For health, the state now has fewer low-birthweight babies, fewer children without health insurance, fewer child and teen deaths, and fewer teens who abuse alcohol or drugs.

The family and community data produced mixed results. Although teen birth rates continue to decline and fewer children live in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma, more children now live in single-parent families and in high-poverty areas.

With rising poverty rates, the report cautions: ”To help children grow into successful, productive adults, their parents need well-paying jobs, affordable housing and the ability to invest in their children’s future. When parents are unemployed or their incomes are low, they may struggle to meet their children’s most basic needs for food, safe housing, medical care and quality child care.”

Children’s Trust is the contact for Kids Count South Carolina. Visit their website at www.scchildren.org/kidscount for more information including the full 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book and a list of rankings by South Carolina county. National data is available on the Kids Count website at datacenter.kidscount.org.