Minnesota is the best state to be a kid, according to a new study of children's overall well-being.
The worst overall states? Mississippi, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, and Alabama, according to rankings in the Anne E. Casey Foundation's 2016 "Kids Count Data Book."
The top five states overall, along with Minnesota, were Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, the study found.
The Casey foundation is a philanthropic organization focused on improving the well-being of American children. It assessed each state on categories such as economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The data book focuses on trends over the six-year period from 2008 to 2014 to give each state a composite score.
"This year’s Data Book shows children experienced gains in reading proficiency and a strong improvement in the number of children with health insurance," the Casey foundation reported in the report, due out today.
But the report also found "unacceptable levels of childhood poverty, an increasing number of children in single-parent families and a rising number of children who lived in high-poverty neighborhoods, which pose risks to children and are associated with diminished prospects later in life."
Among the criteria that the foundation analyzed for the report are statistics on the percentage of low-birthweight babies, children without health insurance, kids who are not in school, teenagers who use alcohol or drugs, and percentage of children in poverty.
"Broadly speaking, children experienced gains in the education and health domains, but setbacks in the economic well-being and family and community domains," the foundation said in a prepared statement.
According to the Casey Foundation, Mississippi has been ranked 50th in every KIDS COUNT Data Book except in 2013 when New Mexico was ranked last.
Among notable poor performing states:
- California is ranked 4th from the bottom in Economic Well-Being. "This is extremely troubling considering that nine million children, or one in eight children in the country, live in the state," the report concluded.
- West Virginia ranked 46th in Education.
- Florida ranked 47th in Health.
- Texas ranked 47th in Family and Community.
The rankings and data in the report can be viewed here.