health

These are the best and worst US states for children

By Jacqueline Howard

Published June 27, 2018

New Hampshire ranks highest and New Mexico lowest for overall child well-being in the US, according to an Annie E. Casey Foundation report.

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The report, called Kids Count, measured child well-being for all 50 states by combining 2016 data within the domains of economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. Data from 2016 are the most recent available for every state.

10 best states for kids (from best to worst)

  • New Hampshire

  • Massachusetts

  • New Jersey

  • Minnesota

  • Iowa

  • Utah

  • Connecticut

  • Vermont

  • Nebraska

  • Virginia

10 worst states for kids (from worst to best)

  • New Mexico

  • Louisiana

  • Mississippi

  • Nevada

  • Alaska

  • Arizona

  • Oklahoma

  • Texas

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

Five of the top 10 states for overall child well-being were in the Northeast, including Connecticut at seven and Vermont at eight. Appalachian states and those across the southern tier mostly populated the bottom of the rankings.

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A few rankings varied dramatically. For instance, Montana ranked 10th for family and community but 46th for health, and California ranked ninth for health but 45th for economic well-being.

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The report also showed that on nearly all index measures, black, American Indian and Latino children appeared to be disadvantaged compared with their peers, the data showed.

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There were a few notable exceptions in these differences by race. For instance, black children were more likely than the national average to be in school as young children.

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American Indian families were less likely to be burdened with high housing costs, and American Indian and Latino children were more likely to be born at a healthy birth weight.

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