NASHVILLE (WATE) – Tennessee ranks 36th in the country for child well-being, according to the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation 2015 Kids Count Data Book released on Tuesday.Click here to read the full report.
The state was ranked 38th in economic well-being, 36th in education, 30th in health, and 37th in family and community.
Tennessee improved or remained the same on 11 of 16 measures, while conditions worsened on five indicators, according to the report.
The Data Book also reported our state is tied with 15 other states for the lowest percentage of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, a tribute to prevention efforts across the state, yet too many adolescents in the state are still struggling with addiction issues.
While the percentage of the state’s children who do not have health insurance is better than the national level, 85,000 children were still uninsured, according to the report. Between 2008 and 2013, the percent of children in Tennessee without health insurance coverage decreased by 1 percentage point, while nationally the number decreased by 3 percentage points in the same period.
Tennessee has also made progress in reducing the percent of babies born with low birthweight, but again continues to rank in the bottom 10 (44th).
The 2013 report showed 27 percent of Tennessee kids were living in poverty, which is a five percent increase from 2008.
Although Tennessee continues to rank in the lower half of all states overall, it ranks better than all Southeastern states except Kentucky and North Carolina, 34th and 35th respectively, according to the report. Tennessee’s lowest ranking is in economic well-being, with the Southeastern states generally ranking worse in the percent of children in poverty.
The three highest ranking states overall in 2014 were Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa, while the lowest rankings were Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi.