Local News

Report: More NC children living in poverty

Posted July 22, 2014 5:59 a.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2014 3:18 p.m. EDT

— Despite making significant gains in health and education in the last eight years, North Carolina ranks 34th nationally in overall child well-being, according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book, available in its entirety online, examines 16 measures of child well-being in four categories, ranking states from 1 to 50. North Carolina ranked 38th in economic well-being, 28th in education, 32nd in health and 36th in family and community.

"We know what children need to be successful – a healthy start in life, stable families, a quality education, and safe and secure communities," Laila A. Bell, director of research and data at NC Child, home of the NC KIDS COUNT project, said in a statement. "These data show our children are at risk of falling behind in key areas, leaving them under-prepared to compete and excel in the 21st century economy."

Twenty-six percent of children in the state lived in poverty in 2012, according to the report, up from 21 percent in 2005. A third of the state's children have parents who lack secure employment, and 34 percent are living in households with a high housing-cost burden.

Thirty-seven percent of the state's children live in single-parent families.

"North Carolina ranks a low 39th for child poverty, and a greater share of our children are being raised in high-poverty neighborhoods than in West Virginia," Bell said.

The state's children fared better in the health rankings. The percentage of children without health insurance declined to 8 percent in 2012, and child and teen deaths declined to 27 per 100,000 in children ages 1 to 19 in 2010.

North Carolina slipped one spot overall in education, but there have been significant gains in high school graduation numbers. Between 2005-06 and 2011-12, the percentage of high school students not graduating on time declined by a quarter to 21 percent.

"A well-educated workforce is a powerful tool that drives economic growth," Bell said,. "By 2018, 59 percent of all jobs in North Carolina will require some education beyond high school."