Jul 25, 2012 at 9:18 am
ST. PAUL, MN (KNSI) - Some mixed news for Minnesota in the latest look at the health and well-being of its children. The Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks the state fifth in the nation overall.
While that's good comparatively, Kara Arzamendia with the Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota says it isn't where the state wants to be.
"We were always in the top one or two, maybe three, over the last ten years or more," Arzamendia said. "Minnesota now has dropped to number five overall which is actually the worst ranking we have ever had."
Sticking with the negative side, Arzamendia said of particular concern in Minnesota is the increase in the number of kids living in neighborhoods of poverty and the increase in the percentage of children without health insurance, a total number around 84,000.
"We were actually one of the only states in the nation to see an increase in that area," Arzamendia said. "So all other states are making improvements and working towards covering more children, whereas Minnesota is losing ground."
On a positive note, Arzamendia says improvements like a rise in the number of students graduating high school on time is something to be proud of in Minnesota.
"We're seeing decreases in the teen birth rate, which is great, and also the percent of teens who abuse drugs and alcohol is actually also going down, we've seen an 11% decrease in that indicator."
This year's rankings include a total of 16 indicators, a change from years past. While Minnesota saw some improvements in terms of health and education, it struggled in areas of economic well-being.
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