The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released their 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book. It details how kids are doing across the United States, measuring overall child well-being, as well as ranking states in four specific areas: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. There are also individual state profiles, and Oklahoma’s data holds both good and bad news.
The KIDS COUNT Data Center ranks Oklahoma 40th overall in child well-being, and this is a slight improvement over last year. However, while the state made gains in five key areas, they fell in nine others while two remained unchanged. The worst news was in Economic Well-Being and Family and Community Indicators, where there simply was no improvement to report: more kids are living in poverty and in high poverty areas. Health was a mixed bag, showing a higher number of low-birth weight babies, which is bad, but also reporting more children with insurance and fewer child and teen deaths, which is obviously good news. Education trends looked somewhat better overall, with regards to preschool attendance and reading and math scores, but not enough high school students are graduating on time.