Arizona Shows Slight Gains in Child Well-being Ranking According to Kids Count Report
Author: Helios Education FoundationJuly 7, 2016
Arizona’s overall child well-being rank moved up one spot from 46 to 45, according to the most recent Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual report tracks state outcomes along four domains including Economic Well-being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. With the exception of Economic Well-being, Arizona’s rankings fell within the bottom quintile indicating a need for much work to be done in the state.
Arizona has ranked 44 in the Education domain across the last three years. However, the state has seen progress since the Great Recession: Compared to 2007, six percent more fourth graders are proficient in reading and nine percent more eighth graders are proficient in math as demonstrated by performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. Additionally, while only 35 percent of young children in Arizona are enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs, this number has slightly increased. Finally, 76 percent of high schoolers are now graduating on time compared to 24 percent in 2007/2008.
Arizona’s progress on the Economic Well-being and Family and Community indicators is mixed. Compared to recession years, a larger percentage of Arizona teens are in school or working and more children have a parent possessing a high school diploma. At the same time, more than one out of four children now lives below the poverty line and almost one-third of children have a parent lacking secure employment. In 2010-2014, 24 percent of children lived in high-poverty areas, up eight percent from 2006-2010.
Finally, Arizona fell four spots on the Health domain to a ranking of 45. Even though Arizona has improved across all health indicators since the great recession (e.g., children without health insurance), its performance still lags behind the relative progress of other states.
“While we are pleased with the progress Arizona has made on some indicators, the report shows that we have significant work to do to make sure Arizona’s children have opportunities for success,” said Dr. Karen Ortiz, Vice President, Early Grade Success Initiatives.
Helios Education Foundation uses Kids Count data to inform policy and improve educational programs. Information across multiple domains and indicators provides targeted feedback about the gains Arizona has made and its areas of need. Putting data into practice helps to ensure that Arizona children are ready for the demands of the future and are prepared for success across the education continuum.
Data for the Kids Count Report are taken from the U.S. Census, U.S. Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. To read the full report, click here.