A national report that attempts to rank how each state takes care of its children shows the down economy is making an impact in Iowa. The state ranked eighth this year in the Kids Count report compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Michael Crawford, the director of the Child and Family Policy Center in Des Moines, says that’s the same spot as last year’s survey.
“The numbers really don’t change usually from one year to the next because it takes a few years for these numbers really to accumulate and to see a change in the state’s rankings anyway,” Crawford says.
“And this year they did it a little bit different. They put all the indicators into four domains. And we’re in the top 10 among the states in three of the four domains. So we’re doing well economically, healthwise and also in family and community.”
The information used is from 2010, but Crawford says it still gives some of the picture on what is happening in the state. “The state’s improved a few years on in its child mortality indicators, but we’ve slipped in the number of children in poverty and also the number of kids living in single parent families. Which are two areas I believe its extremely important, even in these financially austere times, to provide needed supports and programs to create improvement for the kids.”
The survey says the percentage of kids living in poverty is up to 16% in 2010 from 14% in 2005. The other indicators in the “economic domain,” showed the percentage of children whose parents lack secure employment went from 21% in 2008 to 25% in 2010. The percentage of children living in households with a high housing cost burden increased from 25% in 2005 to 27% in 2010, and the percentage of teens not in school and not working went from 4% in 2008 to 6% in 2010.
Crawford says while there is loss in the economic areas, it is not as bad as some other states are facing. “I think what we see in the numbers in comparing Iowa to other states in the nation is that we seem to be doing better, but I think it’s a case of maybe the recession wasn’t as bad for us as for other states, and maybe we are little slow in catching up with the United States. I think that’s what’s in play here,” according to Crawford.
You can see the complete state breakdown on the Kids Count website at: www.datacenter.kidscount.org.