New Hampshire retained its first place ranking as the state that provides the best overall well-being for children, according to the annual KIDS COUNT report.
The study, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, looks at economic, educational, health and community factors to create its ranking. The data used in this year’s report was collected in 2017.
New Hampshire ranked 10th in economic well-being, fourth in education, second in health and second in family and community.
Although the state remained stagnant in education, health and community, New Hampshire fell seven spots in economic well-being, moving from third to 10th.
The number of children in poverty and the number of children whose parents lack secure employment have stayed the same since 2010. This may have contributed to the state’s drop in rank in those categories, according to Rebecca Woitkowski, early childhood policy coordinator for New Futures in New Hampshire
“These are areas of stagnant growth that need attention,” Woitkowski said.
New Hampshire held its fourth place rank in education. The state improved in one category since last year, moving from 12 percent of high school students not graduating on time to 11 percent.
The state also had mixed results in the health category, although it retained its overall rank of second. Although it saw a slight increase in both the number of babies born at low birth-weight and the number of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, the number of children without health insurance dropped from three percent to two percent. There was also an improvement in the number of teen or child deaths, dropping 23 per 100,000 in 2016 to 19 per 100,000 in 2017.
New Hampshire also kept its second place rank for health, improving in one subcategory. The rate of teen births declined from nine per 1,000 in 2016 to eight per 1,000 in 2017. The state saw a slight increase in the percentage of children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma, moving from five percent to six percent. The other two subcategories remained stagnant.
Despite New Hampshire’s high rankings, there are “real geographic differences” in density of assistance programs across the state, according to Woitkowski. That is, even if a program exists, it may not be available everywhere.
“It really is a disparity and equity issue,” she said.