The following is a Press Release from the Children Defense Fund:
Home Matters – Understanding our Children’s Well-Being by Region
Suburban and rural, non-Appalachian children fare best; metropolitan and Appalachian children still struggling
Columbus, OH – The Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio (CDF-OH) announces the release of its Ohio’s KIDS COUNT 2014 Data Book, an annual compilation of data that provides yearly snapshots of the well-being of Ohio’s children. This year’s book examines how children in metropolitan, suburban, Appalachian, and rural (non-Appalachian) regions of the state differ on indicators in education, economic well-being, health, safety, and demographics.
The report finds that there are distinct differences in children’s well-being depending on the region in which they live. Key findings from regional comparisons show that:
- Children in Appalachian and metropolitan counties have the lowest overall level of well-being. Appalachian counties scored the lowest on every economic indicator, and metropolitan counties had the lowest scores on most of the health, education, and safety indicators.
- Suburban counties had the highest level of child well-being in all indicators except one, babies born at low birth weight. Suburban counties have the highest median incomes ($57,068), lowest child poverty rates (15.9%), lowest unemployment (6.5%), highest rates of fourth grade math (85%) and reading (92.4%) proficiency, and lowest teen birth rate (9.2), for example.
- Rural, non-Appalachian counties generally fare second best in child well-being after suburban counties. They have the lowest rate of babies born at low birth weight (6.8%).
- Child poverty rates are much higher for Appalachian (28.3%) and metropolitan (26.2%) regions than in suburban (15.9%) and rural, non-Appalachian regions (19.7%)
- The percent of children in poverty increased in all 88 counties during the period 2002-2012, but rural, non-Appalachian and suburban counties saw the largest percent increases (92% for rural and 80.5% for suburban) during that decade.
In addition to providing statewide information, the book also provides county-level data on a yearly set of indicators. Examples of KIDS COUNT data by county include:
Indicator Ohio Data Best on Indicator Worst on Indicator
Median household income $46,873 Delaware ($87,470) Athens ($33,950)
Children in poverty 23.6% Delaware (5.9%) Jackson (35.2%)
4th grade reading proficiency 87.7% Paulding (97.6%) Monroe (78.2%)
Babies born at low birth weight 8.6% Holmes (5%) Meigs (12.4%)
“Where children live matters,” notes Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio’s Executive Director, Renuka Mayadev. “The findings suggest children in different parts of the state have different needs. Policymakers must resist an easy one-size-fits-all approach. Our state’s future depends on thoughtful solutions tied to the communities in which our children live.”
The Data Book can be found online in the Research Library at www.cdfohio.org. County fact sheets with data for each of Ohio’s 88 counties as well as other KIDS COUNT resources are available for download at http://ow.ly/B54dz. The national KIDS COUNT Data Center also provides tools for comparing states and counties, creating graphs and maps, and tracking data over time. The Data Center website is www.datacenter.kidscount.org.
The Data Book is produced by the Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio with the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, aSafe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.