“After numerous years of depressing economic news, many positive trends signal that the economy is finally recovering from the deep recession. Job growth and consumer spending are up, while unemployment is down. Nonetheless, there are warning signs that the recovery may be leaving the lowest-income families behind, disproportionately affecting workers of color and their children.”
So begins the narrative for the 2015 KIDS Count Data Book, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The annual report gathers state-level statistics from many sources and produces overall ratings for each state and the nation. Some of the national trends highlighted in the report are listed below, followed by the information for Kansas.
- Worsening Nationally and in Kansas
- The percent of children in poverty has increased from 18 percent in 2008 to 22 percent in 2013 nationally, and from 15 percent to 19 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of children whose parents lack secure employment increased from 27 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in 2013 nationally, and from 22 percent to 24 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of children not attending preschool increased from 53 percent in 2007-09 to 54 percent in 2011-13 nationally, and from 54 percent to 56 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of children in single-parent families increased from 32 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2013 nationally, and from 28 percent to 30 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of children living in high poverty areas increased from 11 percent in 2006-10 to 14 percent in 2009-13 nationally, and from 6 percent to 9 percent in Kansas.
- Improving Nationally and in Kansas
- The percent of children living in households with a high housing cost burden decreased from 39 percent in 2008 to 36 percent in 2013 nationally, and from 28 percent to 27 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of fourth graders not proficient in reading decreased from 68 percent in 2007 to 66 percent in 2013 nationally, and from 64 percent to 62 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of high school students not graduating on time decreased from 25 percent in 2007-08 to 19 percent in 2011-12 nationally, and from 21 percent to 11 percent in Kansas.
- The number of teen births per 1,000 decreased from 40 in 2008 to 26 in 2013 nationally, and from 44 to 30 in Kansas.
- Differing Trends
- The percent of teens not in school and not working was constant at 8 percent between 2008 and 2013 nationally, but increased from 5 percent to 6 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of eighth graders not proficient in math decreased from 69 percent in 2007 to 66 percent in 2013 nationally, but remained constant at 60 percent in Kansas.
- The percent of children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma decreased from 16 percent in 2008 to 14 percent in 2013 nationally, but increased from 11 percent to 12 percent in Kansas.
Overall these results show Kansas follows national trends in most cases, but in the cases where Kansas differs from the national trend, Kansas is moving in a more negative direction. This data suggests more effort needs to be put into addressing the topics listed under differing trends above if the goal is to make sure Kansas follows national trends.
For more information on Kansas’ data, be sure to check out the fact sheet prepared by Kansas Action for Children.