By Lindsay Sax
July 21, 2015
A new report shows that Kansas children are falling behind others across the nation.
KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks Kansas as the 15th overall, which is unchanged from 2014.
The 26th edition of Data Book ranks each state in 16 categories of child well-being in four different areas including, economic well-being, education, health and family community.
The study shows that Kansas had one of the largest increases of children living in high-poverty areas. The study reports that the number of children living in high-poverty areas in 2013 as 64,000 or nine percent, that up from two percent in 2000.
This year Kansas dropped two spots from last year in the economic well-being category. From 2008 to 2013 the number of children living in poverty rose from 15 percent to 19 percent.
“This should be a time of growing prosperity for Kansas children and families, but instead we are mostly stagnant,” said Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO, Kansas Action for Children. “Our state’s unsustainable tax structure threw Kansas into a dangerous, perpetual budget crisis. As long as the Kansas budget is stuck in recession-era levels of investment, Kansas children will be stuck with a recession-era quality of life.”
Kansas has shown progress in health indicators. The number of children without health insurance has decreased from eight percent in 2008 to six percent in 2013. Overall, the nation saw a three percent decrease in children without health insurance.
“Even when we’re making progress, those gains are failing to keep up with the rest of the nation,” said Cotsoradis. “We’re falling behind instead of enacting smart policies that would change the lives of Kansas kids for the better.”
Other highlights from the study show that the teen birth rate improved from 30 per 1,000 births from 34 per 1,000 births in 2012.
But it also shows that 62 percent of fourth graders scored below a proficient reading level. Kansas students are also not attending preschool the study says. It reports that Kansas is sliding below the national average with 56 percent of kids in preschool in 2013.
The KIDS COUNT Data Book can be found online at www.aecf.org.