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North Dakota Ranks 6th Nationally for Child Health and Well-Being

GRAPHIC: ND report data
GRAPHIC: ND report data
July 25, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota has received some very positive news in the latest look at the health and well-being of its children.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks the state sixth in the nation overall. Richard Rathge, a policy analyst for North Dakota KIDS COUNT, says that ranking was boosted by the state's first-place showing in the economic well-being of children, while it was No. 4 in family and community.

"That has to deal with the proportion of our children living with dual parents as opposed to single parents, and the proportion of our children who are living in families who have fairly good economic and educational backgrounds."

Still, Rathge says, some areas need improvement, especially in the areas of education and health. North Dakota is one of 11 states where 3- and 4-year-olds have no access to state-funded preschool.

The report also shows that binge drinking continues to be a problem for teen-agers.

Despite the nationally-best showing in the economic well-being of children, Rathge says, it's not all roses.

"For example, we still have a fair number of our children who are living in poverty. Likewise, one in four of our kids is in the SNAP program, which is the nutrition program. One in three of our kids are eligible for free and reduced lunch."

More information is online at ndkidscount.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND