Providing tools to assess the needs of Florida's children and their families.

Providing tools to assess the needs of Florida's children and their families.

Counting For Kids Blog

Welcome to the Florida KIDS COUNT Counting for Kids blog.

Florida Ranks 40th in 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Each year around this time, the Annie E. Casey Foundation releases its KIDS COUNT Data Book 2016 – State Trends in Child Well-being. This year marks the 27th time that the Foundation has produced state profiles that allow users to directly compare all of the states on sixteen indicators of child well-being and one overall ranking of child well-being. Data is also available for Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, but they are not directly compared to the states.

So how do these state profiles work exactly? Leaving the mathematical details to your reading pleasure (download the report here), the Overall State Ranking is derived from sixteen indicators. The 16 indicators are organized into the following four categories:

Economic Well-Being – This category includes the indicators reflecting the percentage of children who live in poverty, the percentage of children whose parents lack secure employment, the percentage of children living in households with a high housing cost burden, and the percent of teens 16-19 years old who are neither working or in school. These data come from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Education – Indicators in this category include the proportion of young children who are not in school, the percentage of fourth graders who are not proficient in reading, the percentage of eighth graders who are not proficient in math, and the number of high school students not graduating on time. These data come from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress, and the US Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data.

Health – This category has the indicators that show the percentage of low birthweight babies, the percentage of children without health insurance, the number of child and teen deaths per 100,000 and the percentage of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs. Date sources are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics, US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Family and Community Indicators – Indicators in this category include the percentage of children in single parent families, the percent of children in families where the head of household lacks a high school diploma, the percent of children living in high-poverty areas and the number of teen births per 100,000. Data sources are the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics.

So now that you know how this works, let’s look at the numbers. This year, Florida ranked 40th overall out of the 50 states. This means we have some work to do to change policies that improve the well-being of our children and families! Beginning in July, we will spend a few months looking at Florida’s rankings on each domain as well as individual indicators. More importantly, we will ask, "What would it take to make Florida #1 nationwide?", for example, how many children would need to be lifted out of poverty for us to rank first? We will also look at the kinds of programs and policies that would need to be adopted or expanded to make this so. I am looking forward to exploring the possibilities with you. To get started, take a minute, download the Data Book and meet me here at our blog in July, join our conversation on Twitter and check on us frequently on Facebook.

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