Millions of Americans suffered significant financial problems in recent years as a result of the recession and the subsequent fallout, but during that time, many Americans actually improved their kids’ health and education situations.
Between 2005 and 2011, there have been many large strides made in ensuring kids are as happy, healthy and cared for as possible, according to new information from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count data book (PDF). During that six-year period, the number of kids nationwide who do not have health insurance fell 20 percent, child and teen death rates dipped 16 percent. In addition, the rate at which high school students failed to graduate in four years dropped 11 percent, while math proficiency among eighth graders rose 8 percent.
“This year’s findings reveal signs of hope in the midst of tough economic times for millions of families across the country,” said Patrick McCarthy, the Casey Foundation’s president and CEO. “While we’ve made progress in some important areas, we must work together to make sure every child, not just a select few, has the opportunity to succeed. We can help children reach their full potential by ensuring they stay on track in school and grow up healthy in strong financially stable families surrounded by supportive communities.”
However, there was some troubling data in the findings as well, the report said. For instance, eight of the nation’s 10 most populous states fell into the bottom half of the nationwide rankings, and 36 states and the District of Columbia had at least one-third of all kids living in households where more than 30 percent of income was going to housing costs. Further, child poverty rates rose in 43 states, with Mississippi’s 33 percent increase being the largest nationwide.
Further, the number of Caucasian children without health insurance in 2010 was just 6 percent, compared with 18 percent of Native American children, and 14 percent of Latinos, the report said. And 80 percent of Latino, African-American and Native American children did not reach reading proficiency standards in 2011, while only 58 percent of Caucasian kids fell behind in this area.
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Families that are struggling with money may want to take the time to do a full assessment of their finances to see if there are any areas in which they can improve.
Image: MJ/TR, via Flickr