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MN Ranks 4th in Nation for Child Well-Being

A new report says Minnesota has seen big improvements in children's well-being, but white children may be faring better than minority children. (cdc.gov)
A new report says Minnesota has seen big improvements in children's well-being, but white children may be faring better than minority children. (cdc.gov)
June 13, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A new report has high praise for Minnesota, for decreasing its number of uninsured children by 60 percent - one of the biggest drops in the nation - between 2010 and 2015.

The new KIDS COUNT Data Book for 2017 ranks Minnesota fourth among states for overall child well-being.

Stephanie Hogensen, research director for the Children's Defense Fund Minnesota, says despite its high ranking, there are some areas that need improvement. Breaking down the numbers by race, she says it's clear that white children fared better than those of other ethnic backgrounds.

"Demographics are shifting and diversifying," she says. "Looking at this data - which is all aggregate data for all children - if you don't dive deeper into the data, it's able to kind of cover up the fact that we have those vast disparities."

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book shows gains have been made across the country, with fewer children living in poverty, more parents with jobs, and more families able to bear the cost of housing.

Hogenson says the Affordable Care Act, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are helping Minnesota families put enough food on the table each month. She thinks it's crucial that state and federal policymakers avoid taking actions that would prompt a backslide.

"Really, this report shows the recognition of what happens when state, federal and local governments support children and families in developing economic stability, and access to health care and education and safe communities," she explains.

The report ranks Minnesota 8th in education. It says the number of three- and four-year-olds who aren't enrolled in preschool has gone up four percent, nearly two-thirds of fourth-graders are not proficient in reading, and more than half of eighth-graders aren't proficient in math.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN