An annual report measuring the well-being of children ranks Iowa third among all 50 states based on indicators in four areas. Michael Crawford, director of Iowa KIDS COUNT, maintains the high ranking reflects the importance Iowans place on providing for children and families, noting a decline in the teen birth rate by 45% since 2010, and a 25% reduction in the percentage of children without health insurance.
Crawford says one improvement Iowa could make is qualifying more parents for financial assistance so that a larger percentage of children can enroll in preschool.
The Annie E. Casey Foundations 30th edition of the annual report ranks Iowa second among all states in the economic well-being domain and in the top 10 in the three other domains: seventh in education, eighth in health, and eighth in family and community.
Leslie Boissiere, the Casey Foundation’s vice president, external affairs, says overall, children in the United States had a better chance at thriving in 2017 than in 1990 when the first Data Book was released, with improvements in 11 of the 16 index measures of child well-being.
Boissiere says, however, that racial and ethnic disparities continue, and states should be asking hard questions.
The Casey Foundation found that more than 13 million children in the U.S. are living in poverty, and despite economic growth and reduced unemployment, there’s been virtually no progress on child poverty since the publication of the first Data Book in 1990.