Columbia, S.C. – Using a revised and expanded list of indicators, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book. It gives an in-depth look at the status of children in South Carolina in comparison to the rest of the nation. South Carolina’s overall rank for child well-being, as compared to other states, is 43.
Indicators were placed into four domains:
- Economic Well-Being
- Family and Community
“With the expanded list of indicators, increasing from 10 to 16, and framed into four domains, we can better examine and more fully understand what we are doing well for children and where we can do better,” explains Sue Williams, CEO of Children’s Trust of South Carolina and program director of KIDS COUNT South Carolina. “The result is that we have a much more robust and comprehensive index for understanding child-well being. Please note that with the addition of indicators our rank this year cannot be compared to previous years.
“South Carolina’s highest ranking is under economic well-being with a rank of 34. However, the intense economic pressures our state has experienced from high unemployment and the recession have taken their toll. All indicators in this group are trending down and show that overtime we are not improving. Of particular concern, is the 23 percent increase in children whose parents lack secure employment and the 13 percent increase in children living in poverty since 2005,” explains Williams.
This means that one in every four children (278,000) children live in poverty. For a family of four, this equates to a household income of $23,050 or less. Research tells us that on average families need incomes at twice the poverty level ($46,100) to cover normal, expected expenses such as food, housing, childcare, and transportation. In South Carolina, one in every two children lives below this threshold.
The report also gives South Carolina some small rays of hope, especially in education and health, where we are seeing trend of improvements. There was a 31 percent decrease in children without health insurance, 25 percent decrease in teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, and a 15 percent decrease in the child and teen deaths.
There was also eight percent decrease in the number of children not attending preschool.
“As 43rd in the nation, we still have much room for improvement and these numbers should not give us a false sense of success. There are far too many children and their futures at risk,” Williams warns.
The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book with state-by-state rankings and supplemental data is available as of 12:01 a.m. EDT, July 25, 2012 at http://datacenter.kidscount.org.
Children’s Trust of South Carolina was recently named the grantee for the KIDS COUNT project in South Carolina. KIDS COUNT is a major initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It provides funding and technical assistance for a nationwide network of KIDS COUNT grantee projects, currently in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Grantees collect data on and advocate for the well-being of children at the state and local levels. KIDS COUNT is best known for its annual data book that profiles the status of children on a national and state-by-state basis and ranks states on measures of well-being. A copy of the data book is available upon request at Children’s Trust, and the data is available through scchildren.org.
For more information about KIDS COUNT in South Carolina, please contact:
Bett Farrell Williams
Director of Communications
Children’s Trust of South Carolina