The overall well-being of children in South Carolina improved slightly, even while poverty continues to go up, according to a new report findings released Tuesday.
The Kids Count Data Book, a study conducted each year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked South Carolina 42nd overall for a child’s chance of succeeding. That’s up from 45th last year and is the best ranking South Carolina has achieved in the report’s 25-year history.
The foundation’s associate director for policy reform and advocacy Laura Speer told South Carolina Radio Network one are area of improvement in the state was the health of newborn infants. “Babies born at a low birth weight has gone down in the state, which is a good thing,” Speer said.
Another area of improvement in South Carolina is the number of uninsured children dropped. “On a real bright note is the percent of children without health insurance, it has dropped from 13 percent in 2008 down to 13 percent in 2013. Which is a pretty significant improvement,” Speer said.
States received separate rankings in economics, education, health, and family and community.
On economic issues, South Carolina declined or remained the same. More than one in four children lived in poverty, according to the report. That’s nearly 300,000 children. By percentage, childhood poverty rates went up from 22 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2013.
Even more children live in homes without job security. The parents of 35 percent of children, more than 350,000 in all, lack a permanent job, meaning no parent has full-time, secure employment. That was an increase from 30 percent in 2008.
South Carolina posted mixed results on family and community measures.
More than 40 percent of children live in single parent homes, up 3 percentage points from 2008. The state’s biggest improvement came in teen births. The number of girls 15-19 years-old giving birth, per 1,000, declined to 32, a 19-point drop from 2008.
Health is the only category where South Carolina showed across the board improvement, ranking 36th nationwide.