Conditions for Arizona children remain much as they have over the last three years, with drops in the state’s rankings in fourth-grade reading success and eighth-grade math proficiency, according to the 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Each year, the KIDS COUNT analysis evaluates 16 indicators of data in four main areas: education, health, poverty and family and community factors. States are ranked from 1 to 50, with one being the best conditions for kids and 50 being the worst.
Despite the economic recovery and low unemployment rates, a large number of Arizona children are not reaping the benefits of economic opportunity.
Twenty-four percent of children live in poverty and 23 percent live in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty, ranking Arizona in the bottom 10 on both measures. The extreme stress, instability, and deprivation associated with childhood poverty can have lifelong consequences for low educational attainment, health problems, and depressed income.
In an election year, the data provides candidates with an opportunity to tell voters their ideas for lifting children out of poverty and improving the health, education and security of the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
The full report is available online here.