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Report: Oregon Ranks in Bottom Half of States for Child Well-Being

Oregon has work to do to ensure children have quality education opportunities and live in financially stable homes, according to a new report. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
Oregon has work to do to ensure children have quality education opportunities and live in financially stable homes, according to a new report. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
June 17, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon is falling behind other states when comes to the well-being of its children, a new report says.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2019 KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks the state 31st overall in its measure of how children are doing in four categories: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

Chris Coughlin, legislative director at Children First for Oregon, says it's alarming that the state ranks in the bottom half of states on economic well-being at 29th.

"Given that we have what's considered a booming economy, that ranking is really concerning to us because we just feel that Oregon children need to be living in families with economic stability in order for the families and the children to be able to thrive," Coughlin states.

Although numbers have improved since the recession, the report finds nearly a third of Oregon children are living in households with high housing costs.

The state fares worse in education, at 41st in the nation, in part due to the state having the second-lowest high school graduation rate in the country.

Coughlin says these numbers have steadily improved, and expects the recently passed Student Success Act to help graduation numbers.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Casey Foundation, says more than 13 million children nationwide live in poverty, and the U.S. is failing to equip many of them, particularly in communities of color, with what they need to reach their full potential.

"All 74 million children in this country deserve brighter futures,” she stresses. “Children represent 25% of the population but they are 100% of our future. And when we invest in all children, our communities are stronger and also the country is stronger."

Boissierre also highlights the importance of an accurate census count in 2020.

Fifty-five major federal programs, including Head Start and the Children's Health Insurance Program, allocate more than $880 billion each year nationwide based on census data.

Disclosure: Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Early Childhood Education, Juvenile Justice, Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR