Iowa fell one spot this year in a national report that ranks states on 10 factors that make them good places to raise kids. Michael Crawford, the director of Iowa Kids Count, says the state dropped from seventh to eighth in the national "Kids Count" survey.
Crawford says he doesn’t think the drop means much because the top ten states are very close to each other, so there’s not much difference between them. Crawford says the state saw setbacks in some areas. Crawford says the percentage of babies born with a low birthweight continues to rise with the number up 18% since 2000.
Also, in 2006, more than one-fourth of Iowa kids lived in two parent families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment. The percentage of children living in poverty went up by eight percent, and the percentage of children in single-parent families went up four percent.
Crawford says the state saw improvement in six of ten areas. Crawford says the percentage of teens that were highschool dropouts has decreased by 20-percent since 2000, ranking Iowa second in the nation. He says only four-percent of Iowa teens in 2006 were considered dropouts. The percent of teens who were not attending school, or not working, dropped by 17% to rank Iowa second in the nation. The infant mortality rate decreased 18% from 2000 to 2005. The child death rate and the teen date each decreased by 14%.
Crawford says efforts are underway to improve the areas where Iowa showed negative numbers. He says the state is working to improve prenatal care to improve the number of low birthweight babies, also the state has worked to make healthcare more accessible, and the state has raised the minimum wage. New Hampshire was the top-ranked state in the survey. To see the entire survey, surf to the Kids Count website .