(NEXSTAR) – A new report ranks the worst and best U.S. states for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, from nonprofit Save the Children, looked at the various hardships making it difficult for children right now, including hunger, lack of tools for remote learning and “trouble making ends meet.”
“Evaluating four months of data on these three factors in all 50 states, Save the Children found families are suffering in every state and at every income level,” the report reads. “But the poorest families are struggling the most.”
The best states for children during the pandemic were Minnesota, Utah, Washington and New Hampshire.
The worst states included Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and New Mexico.
The report predicts that the COVID pandemic will likely increase equity gaps between the poor and wealthy, as the kids most negatively impacted by the virus so far have been disproportionately poor, people of color and those who live in rural areas.
“Their families are more likely to become sick and die from COVID, to be affected by job and income losses, to be struggling with housing costs, and/or to have fewer child care options,” the report said.
The states where children fared best were not necessarily those where the COVID caseload was lowest. Rather, “what matters more are the resources in place for children and families.”
For example, states such as Utah and North and South Dakota have had some of the highest case rates during the pandemic, but they all scored in the top-10 of the ranking.
The report closes by advocating for additional state and federal funding to support the struggling child care industry and to combat childhood hunger.
Methodology: The report used four months of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey from August 19 to December 21. The ranking including three indictors: not enough food, inadequate tools for online learning and difficulty paying bills.
You can find the full report here.