The 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book

State Trends in Child Well-Being

Posted July 25, 2012
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
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AECF 2012 KIDSCOUNT Data Book Cover


The KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and ranks the 50 states. To take advantage of the tremendous growth in research and data about child development, the 2012 report introduces a new, more comprehensive measure of child well-being -- a composite index derived from 16 key indicators grouped into four domains: (1) economic well-being, (2) education, (3) health and (4) family and community. The three highest ranked states for overall child-being in 2012 were New Hampshire, Massachusetts and  Vermont; the three lowest ranked states were Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi. At the national level, children experienced gains in education and health, showing continued incremental improvement in line with longer-term positive trends. But economic well-being declined: child poverty increased, more children had parents who lacked secure employment and more children lived in families that faced high housing cost burdens. Results for the family and community domain were mixed.

View national and state data profiles associated with the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

Despite the end of the recession, the economic well-being of children and families deteriorated.

The child poverty rate increased from 20% to 22% between 2009 and 2010, and the percent of children whose parents lacked full-time, year-round employment increased from 27% to 33% from 2008 to 2010. Four out of 10 children lived in families that spent more than 30% of their income on housing. Continuing longer-term trends, children made progress in the areas of education and health. Proficiency in math and reading increased and more high school students graduated on time. The child and teen death rate continued to decline and the proportion of children without health insurance decreased.