Iowa 10th on child well-being
Posted on 07/08/2020 at 08:29 AM by Stephen Dykstra
Iowa rounds out the top 10 in the 2020 national KIDS COUNT® Data Book released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The 31st edition of the annual child well-being report compares and ranks the 50 states on 16 child and family well-being indicators in four separate domains.
Data Book highlights pre-Covid conditions
This year's Data Book release coincides with a pandemic and economic crisis — and unprecedented concern for the well-being of kids and families. Its rankings reflect data collected before Covid-19, making the report a benchmark of child and family well-being before the pandemic. Results have most likely worsened since then.
Iowa ranks 10th overall among the states this year, and our rankings in the three broad categories of child and family well-being where we can make year-to-year comparisons (economic, education and family and community factors) all dropped compared to last year’s metrics. This is concerning, even without Covid-19 thrown into the mix.
Different story on health
We can't make year-to-year comparison in the health category because of an indicator change. For years, Annie E. Casey Foundation wanted to include child and teen obesity in its annual report — but nationwide data wasn't available. Now it is, and the Casey Foundation has included the number and percent of children and teens (ages 10-17) who are overweight or obese. It replaces another indicator, teen drug and alcohol abuse.
Last year, the share of Iowa teens who abused alcohol or drugs was the same as the national average, 4 percent, but the share of children and teens who are overweight or obese is worse than the national average (35 percent vs. 31 percent).
All told, Iowa's performance in this year's Data Book across all four domains is cause for concern — and a call to action.
Read the full report or get the highlights via Iowa's profile. And keep an eye out for a special report later this year from the Annie E. Casey Foundation on child and family well-being during a global pandemic.