Kids Count ranks Florida 36th in nation in key child health indicators

Florida ranks 36th in the nation when it comes to child well-being, according to the recently released Kids Count 2011 Databook. The state dropped one spot in the rankings since 2010.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation releases the databook each year. It looks at ten indicators, including low birth weight, teen births, child poverty levels and children in single-parent families.

Kids Count 2011 found that the children throughout the country have had a significant decline in economic well-being over the last 10 years, which is attributed to the financial crisis that has plagued the nation. According to the book, in 2010, 11 percent of children had at least one unemployed parent and 4 percent have been affected by foreclosure since 2007.

In Florida, the economic statistics are worse: 12 percent of the child population had at least one unemployed parent and 10 percent have been affected by foreclosure.

Since 2010, several health and socioeconomic indicators got worse in Florida: percent of children in poverty, percent of children in single-parent families and percent of low birth weight babies. The infant mortality rate stayed the same.

Florida’s indicator rankings:

  • 28th in infant mortality rate
  • 38th in percent of low birth weight babies
  • 29th in teen pregnancy rate.
  • When it comes to single-parent families, Florida has its worst ranking: 43 out of 50 states.

The Florida Times-Union references Kids Count in their August 18th article, “Rise in teen moms likely to follow rise in First Coast poor, advocates say.” 

In the same issue, guest columnist John Coggin urged Gov. Rick Scott to focus on children and expand funding for successful programs like Healthy Start.