Maryland children’s health and educational achievement are showing positive signs even in the midst of a dismal economic environment, according to a new study of child well-being, released July 25.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 Kids Count Data Book measures 16 indicators of child well-being in each of the 50 states. This year’s study showed both promising progress and discouraging setbacks for Maryland children: While most education and health indicators improved, the indicators of economic well-being worsened.
This year’s Data Book uses an updated index of 16 indicators of child well-being, organized into four categories: Economic Well-Being, Health, Education, and Family and Community.
Three of the four key indicators in educational achievement showed improvement, including an 8 percent decrease in the number of children not attending preschool, a 16 percent decrease in the number of fourth graders not proficient in reading, and a 14 percent decrease in the number of eighth graders not proficient in math. The percent of high school students not graduating on time showed no change, remaining at 20 percent.
Three of the four economic indicators worsened. The study showed an 18 percent increase in the number of Maryland children living in poverty, a 24 percent increase in the number of children whose parents lack secure employment, a 20 percent increase in the number of children living in households with high housing cost burdens, and no change in the number of teens who are not in school and are unemployed.
Of the key indicators for child health, the percent of low-birthweight babies and children without health insurance remained steady at 9.1 percent and 5 percent, respectively. The number of child and teen deaths per 100,000 showed a 17 percent improvement, and the number of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs improved by 14 percent.
The fourth category of well-being is family and community, which included indicators such as the percent of children in single-parent families and children living in high-poverty areas.
For more information, visit The Annie E. Casey Foundation website.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a charity that helps build better futures for disadvantaged children in the U.S.