Child Well-Being Measures Vary Dramatically by State

April 3, 2008

Across the United States, the location where a child is born and raised can make a huge difference in the child's health and well-being, according to a report released on April 2 by the non-profit Every Child Matters Education Fund.

THURSDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- Across the United States, the location where a child is born and raised can make a huge difference in the child's health and well-being, according to a report released on April 2 by the non-profit Every Child Matters Education Fund.

Entitled "Geography Matters: Child Well-Being in the States," the report was authored by Michael R. Petit, the founder of Every Child Matters, and details geographic differences in key measures of child well-being standards throughout the United States.

The 10 states scoring lowest on 10 major child well-being standards are Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Nevada, South Dakota and Arizona. Top-scoring states include Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. According to the report, children born in the bottom 10 states have nearly twice the infant and child mortality rates of children born in the top 10 states, and are three times as likely to live in poverty. In addition, rates of child abuse and neglect, uninsurance, teen pregnancy and teen incarceration are much higher in the bottom 10 states.

"There exists a huge gap among states on a wide variety of child well-being indicators. The state they live in should not adversely influence the life and death of children -- but it does. Such inequalities affect all Americans, rich and poor alike, and weaken both our economy and our democracy," the author concludes.

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