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Indiana is middle of the pack in the U.S. for overall child well-being

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Community, Education, Family Issues, Health
Indiana is 27th in the country for overall child well-being, according to the latest edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's national Kids Count Data Book. (FILE PHOTO: Elle Moxley/StateImpact Indiana)

Indiana ranks in the bottom half of all 50 states for child well-being. That’s according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s national Kids Count Data Book, unveiled Monday.

Indiana’s 27th overall child well-being ranking is based on data across four areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community.

The state isn’t doing too poorly in the first two categories, though it got worse across multiple education data points. That includes 2022 data on the percentage of 3- and 4-year-olds not in school and of eighth graders not proficient in math.

Ashley Haynes is a vice president at the Indiana Youth Institute, the state affiliate for the Kids Count network.

“We’re definitely starting to see some of the impact from COVID-19 on our elementary kids and even our middle school kids,” Haynes said.

Haynes said a major takeaway, though, is how much Indiana is improving economically for its children.

“Between 2019 and 2022, more parents had full-time, secure employment in Indiana, which is higher than the national average and also higher than our four surrounding states,” Haynes said.

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And while Indiana ranks 31st in the country for family and community measures, Haynes said many of those data points have improved.

“We may have improved in our family and community rankings, but other states may have improved at a faster or a higher rate,” Haynes said.

That includes reductions in the percentage of children living in high-poverty areas and the number of teen births, though the data is from before Indiana’s near-total abortion ban took effect.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.