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Report: Economic Stability of NC Families Falters

The economic security of North Carolina families is faltering, according to a report released today from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Jaime Reyes Palencia/flickr)
The economic security of North Carolina families is faltering, according to a report released today from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Jaime Reyes Palencia/flickr)
June 13, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina families are not as financially secure this year, compared with prior years. That's according to the Annie E. Casey 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book released Tuesday.

The state ranks 37th in the country when it comes to economic well-being, behind neighboring southern states South Carolina and Tennessee. The state was 30th in that category last year.

Laila Bell, director of research and data at NC Child, says with more than half a million children in the state living in poverty, it's a problem policymakers need to address.

"We're also seeing that our children are really just not doing well around economic well-being and we're really concerned about that," she says. "In fact, North Carolina is losing ground in some pretty troubling ways."

Overall, North Carolina ranked 33rd in the Data Book. While economic security is faltering, the state ranks 22nd in education - with the report analyzing states based on the percentage of pre-k age children not attending school, and grade-level reading proficiencies.

North Carolina is among the top states that reduced the number of children without health insurance, largely because of expansions in the Affordable Care Act, which are now in jeopardy under the new administration.

While there have been some gains in education and health of North Carolina children, the situation they face when they are home can undermine everything, explains The Casey Foundation's Laura Speer, associate director for Policy Reform and Advocacy.

"Economic stability for families is really important for kids' well-being," Speer says. "In looking at their long-term development, it's about having access to the basics for families so that kids can focus on what they need to focus on, which is healthy development and going to school."

There are still 500,000 adults who are uninsured in North Carolina, which Bell points out is another vulnerability of the state.

"We also know there's a significant risk factor around children's coverage because children whose parents are insured are far more likely to have health-insurance coverage themselves," Bell adds. "So we know that the fact that North Carolina currently has about 500,000 adults who are uninsured is really a risk factor."

The state ranks 36th in family and community domain, which examines the percentage of children living in high-poverty areas, education levels among those households and the number living in single-parent homes.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC