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An in-depth look at our region's emerging economic, social, political and cultural identity.

Report Shows NC Ranks Low On Well-Being Of Children

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Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE

The latest annual Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book report ranks North Carolina as 33rd in the nation in terms of the well-being of its 2.3 million children. The report does show some improvements for the state but many of the findings are bleak.

According to the report’s latest figures, the number of three- and four-year-old children in the state not enrolled in some form of school increased from 56 percent to 58 percent over a two-year period. The report blames a “lack of investment” by state officials as the reason for the increase. Health care coverage improved from 8% of the state’s children having no health insurance to 5%.

The report also shows that nearly 21% - half a million of young residents live in poverty—down from 25% four years ago. The number of eight graders not proficient in math inched up slightly to 65%.

On the improvement side, 11% fewer children’s parents are overburdened with housing costs and the number whose parents are unemployed dropped from 35% to 28%. The number of teenagers not in school or working has improved from 10%to 7%, fewer teens are having children and only 13% are not graduating, down from 22%. Teens abusing alcohol and other drugs stayed the same at 4%t in the state.

In South Carolina, it’s ranking dropped from 38th to 39th in terms of the health and well-being of children. About a quarter of children there live in poverty, more than 70 percent of fourth-graders are not proficient in reading. The same amount of eighth graders are not meeting the state’s math standards. In addition, more than half of South Carolina’s three- and four-year-old children are not enrolled in preschool, kindergarten or nursery school.