Nevada ranks low in wellbeing of children |

Nevada ranks low in wellbeing of children

The Associated Press

Nevada ranks 48th in the nation when it comes to the overall wellbeing of children, trailing at the bottom in education, health and economic situations that affect a child’s ability to succeed and thrive, according to the 2012 Kids Count Data Book released Wednesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The report analyzes various indicators pertaining to health, education, community and economic factors.

In the overall ranking, Nevada was rated better than only New Mexico and Mississippi, while New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont topped the list.

Nevada ranked 49th on economic wellbeing; 46th on health; 50th on education; and 41st on family and community indexes. This year’s report added six measurements within the four categories to give a broader sense of a child’s wellbeing, the foundation said.

In 2010, 22 percent of Nevada children under the age of 18 lived in poverty, the report said. Between 2005 and 2010, the child poverty rate rose 47 percent, representing an increase of 54,000 children.

The state ranked last in the number of teens who did not attend school or work. Of teens aged 16 to 19, 15 percent fell into that category, a 36 percent jump from 2008 that represents an increase of 7,000 teens.

Nevada also ranked 50th in the percent of 3- and 4-year-olds who did not attend preschool, as well as the number of high school students who fail to graduate on time. In 2008-2009, only 44 percent of high school students graduated, the same percentage as in 2005-2006.

This year’s report added six measurements within the four categories to give a broader sense of a child’s wellbeing, the foundation said.

And while Nevada ranked low in many areas, it also said Nevada children saw gains in half of the 16 indicators over the past few years. For one thing, Nevada’s child and teen death rate fell 22 percent from 2005 to 2009, and the teen birth rate fell 6 percent during the same period.

And while the state still ranks 50th in the number of children under 18 who lack health insurance, the report said the 17 percent in that indicator is down from the 20 percent who didn’t have health insurance from 2008 to 2010.

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