Rising tide of economic recovery did not lift all boats, leaving many children shipwrecked.
“Maine’s economy is not working for all of our children. Too many kids are living in families where no parent has full time work, where housing costs take up a large portion of the family budget, or where wages don’t meet the basic needs of a family,“ – Claire Berkowitz, Executive Director of MCA
Today, the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) released its annual KIDS COUNT® Data Book report on child well-being today, ranking Maine 12th among all the states. The 2015 Data Book, which focuses on key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years, measures child well-being in four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. To read the data book, click here.
Join the Maine Children’s Alliance for a press event at the United Way of Greater Portland, July 21st at 11:00 AM. The press event will feature speakers from fields related to each indicator and delve into what this data means for Maine Kids.
The data reveals that the rising tide of recovery in the form of increasing employment and concentrated wealth has left stagnant pockets of low-income, struggling communities and families, where a child’s future is anchored in scarcity and hardship.
For the first time in a decade, a non-New England state ranks number one for overall child well-being. Minnesota holds the top spot, followed by New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Vermont. Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi rank lowest.
“The future of Maine depends on ensuring that the pathways to opportunity are open and accessible throughout the state. When we allow any segment of our community to struggle, particularly our children, that derails progress for all of us.” – Claire Berkowitz, Executive Director
As the number of Maine children living in low-income families expands, at an even more desperate economic level, one in five children is still stranded in poverty. Since 2008, the number of Maine children living in poverty has risen by almost 3,000, from 42,000 to 45,000 children today. At a rate of 18 percent in 2013, the rate of child poverty in Maine is still several percentage points higher than before the recession, when it was 16 percent.
But, there are bright spots in the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book, with more young children in Maine attending preschool, more high school students graduating on time and proficiency rates improving for 4th grade reading and 8th grade math scores. The teen birth rate is at a historic low and the death rate for children and teens has fallen as a result of medical advances and increased usage of seat belts, car seats and bike helmets.
Maine & the Indicators
“In order for kids to be successful, they need strong families, good schools, access to health care and safe and supportive communities. The Maine Children’s Alliance will continue to use state and national KIDS COUNT data to advocate for sound public policies that improve the lives of our state’s children and families.“ – Claire Berkowitz, Executive Director
- Economic Well-Being: Between 2008 and 2013, Maine fell behind in two of the four indicators that comprise this domain. Maine ranks 18th in this domain.
- Education: Maine showed improvement on all four of the indicators that measure this domain. Maine ranks 16th in this domain.
- Health: Maine showed improvement on three of four indicators and ranks 10th in this domain.
- Family/Community Context: Maine ranked 5th in this domain, but showed improvement on only one of the four indicators.
For more information, head over the KIDS COUNT Data Center!
For over 25 years, the KIDS COUNT Data Book has provided reliable data about how kids are doing locally and nationally and what policies and programs might lead to improvements in child well-being in the nation. To learn more about the KIDS COUNT project and our partnership with AECF, click here.