In the U.S., nearly 1 in 7 children live in poverty. And according to the Children’s Defense Fund, a child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds and the total costs of maltreatment per year reach $80.3 billion.
Personal financial website WalletHub recently compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 27 key indicators of neediness, evaluating data set ranges from the share of children in households with below-poverty income to the child food-insecurity rate to the share of maltreated children.
We take a look at the findings in this week’s Map Monday:
|States with the Most Underprivileged Kids|
|1. Mississippi||11. Nevada|
|2. Alaska||12. Montana|
|3. West Virginia||13. Alabama|
|4. New Mexico||14. South Carolina|
|5. Louisiana||15. Missouri|
|6. Oklahoma||16. Wyoming|
|7. District of Columbia||17. Ohio|
|8. Arizona||18. Oregon|
|9. Arkansas||19. Indiana|
|10. Kentucky||20. South Dakota|
Georgia ranked No. 21 with a Socioeconomic Welfare Score of 27, a Health Score of 25, and an Education Score of 15.
- Louisiana has the highest child food-insecurity rate, 23.00 percent, which is 2.6 times higher than in Massachusetts, the state with the lowest at 8.90 percent.
- Mississippi has the most infant deaths (per 1,000 live births), nine, which is three times more than in Vermont, the state with the fewest at three.
- West Virginia has the highest share of children in foster care, 1.97 percent, which is 8.6 times higher than in New Jersey, the state with the lowest at 0.23 percent.
- Texas has the highest share of uninsured children aged 0 to 18, 10.80 percent, which is 8.3 times higher than in Massachusetts, the state with the lowest at 1.30 percent.
- Kentucky has the highest share of maltreated children, 1.99 percent, which is 11.1 times higher than in Pennsylvania, the state with the lowest at 0.18 percent.
What are the most efficient and effective programs for equalizing opportunity for children?
“Cash assistance is an important component of poverty reduction, but programs that provide direct in-kind relief to children from economically disadvantaged households, such as SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, prenatal care, housing, and homeless services, etc. are more immediately impactful on child health and wellness. While leveling the playing field for underprivileged children is the goal, children who are sick or hungry cannot make it to the playing field at all. Providing food, health care, and shelter are the starting points for a safe and healthy childhood that allow children to grow, learn, and eventually compete in the job market.”
Jennifer Baum – Professor, St. John’s University School of Law
“Children living in lower-income neighborhoods tend to be enrolled in schools with far fewer resources and a lower quality of instruction than children living in well-to-do neighborhoods. Evening out the distribution of dollars spent on education would be one of the most important ways of equalizing opportunity for children.”
Mark R. Rank – Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
You can read the full report – with the methodology- here.