Politics & Government

New survey offers mixed view of children's welfare

WASHINGTON — Death rates among children and teenagers have improved since 2000, but more children are living in poverty, according to a new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation child advocacy group.

The improvement in the death rate was welcomed, but advocates said they were worried by the rise in the number of children living in poverty, noting that the figures are from 2006 and 2007, before the beginning of the current recession.

"States are treading water,” said Laura Beavers, coordinator of the Kids Count advocacy group. “We’re lagging way behind what happened in the late 1990s when there were improvements across most states.”

The survey looked at 10 key indicators of children's health and well-being across the country, from poverty rates to dropout rates. Overall, they showed both slight improvements and slippage.

Based on the data, New Hampshire was ranked at as the best state for children and Mississippi the worst.

Among the surveys findings:

-- New Hampshire had lowest percentage of children living in poverty, at 9 percent. Mississippi had the highest, at 29 percent.

-- Utah had the lowest percentage of children whose parents did not work full time year round, at 24 percent. Mississippi was the highest, at 43 percent.

-- North Dakota had the lowest high school dropout rate at 2 percent. Nevada had the highest, at 11 percent.

-- Washington had the lowest infant mortality rate at nearly 5 deaths for every 1,000 births. Mississippi had the highest at nearly 11.

-- Rhode Island had the lowest teenage death rate at 34 deaths for every 100,000 teenagers ages 15-19. Arkansas and Arizona had the highest at 98.

Read the full survey.