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Idaho 20th in Report on How States Treat Children

GRAPHIC: Snapshot of Idaho KIDS COUNT rankings.
GRAPHIC: Snapshot of Idaho KIDS COUNT rankings.
July 25, 2012

BOISE, Idaho - Idaho has received its yearly check-up on how the state's children are doing, coming in 20th in the nation overall.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows Idaho ranks strongest in the family and community categories and weakest in education.

Lauren Necochea, director of Idaho KIDS COUNT, has this insight:

"Idaho performed well in the family and community domain, in part because we have a relatively low percentage of children in single-parent families. However, this did increase from 23 percent to 25 percent."

While Idaho doesn't score well nationwide for education, coming in 30th, she says there have been improvements - but that low preschool attendance and stagnant fourth-grade reading scores hurt the state's ranking.

Necochea says investment in an educated workforce is a powerful tool for economic development, and the Data Book shows how the state is falling behind.

"By 2018, it is projected that 61 percent of jobs in Idaho will require post-secondary education. Currently, only 32 percent of adults ages 25 to 34 in Idaho have an associate's degree or higher."

The report also notes that children and families still are facing economic troubles ranging from a lack of full-time employment to high housing-cost burdens.

For comparison, Oregon is ranked 33rd overall and Utah is 11th.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book is online at datacenter.kidscount.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID