New report assesses Ala. kids’ health, safety, education and security

New report assesses Ala. kids’ health, safety, education and security

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - New numbers are out for the annual Alabama Kids Count Data book. The book serves as both a benchmark and road map for change.

The 2019 Alabama Kids Count Data Book explores 70 key indicators across four issue areas: health, safety, education, and economic security.

“It gives an overview of child well-being in the state of Alabama. So, gives everyone an idea of how children are doing, but it also gives us as a community and our lawmakers and people who are making policy change kind of a road map to see what investments are working and where we could invest more or make more legislative change,” said VOICES Communications Manager Angela Thomas.

In the River Region, Elmore and Autauga Counties were ranked the best at 9 and 10 respectively. Montgomery County was ranked 45th. Lee County is the best in WSFA’s viewing area at No. 4.

This year’s numbers show that infant mortality is at all-time low in Alabama, but still lags behind national numbers. Thomas says that race could also be a factor.

“Looking at African-American babies and the infant mortality rate, they are double their white peers, and also double all of the races in that indicator,” said Thomas.

This year, almost 26 percent of children in Alabama live in poverty. Nearly half of those children live in extreme poverty, meaning working family households making less than $13,000 a year for a family of four. But there are ways that you can help.

“There’s always getting involved with your local lawmakers especially since we’re here in the state capitol,” said Thomas.

Thomas says you can also get involved in the education system.

“Education is tied to a lot of these indicators and if a child is living in poverty, and not home secure, and not food secure, and maybe has things going on within their local neighborhood that are causing them to have those adverse experiences, then it’s going to affect their school career,” said Thomas.

Overall, the 2019 edition shows that Alabama’s child population is decreasing while becoming more ethnically diverse. Despite the changing demographics, significant disparities exist between white children and children of color in every domain studied.

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