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Minn. slides in Kids Count rankings

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FARGO - Minnesota ranks fifth in the U.S. in the latest rankings of child health and well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book.


Minnesota's ranking this year, while high, is the state's lowest ranking in a decade from the KIDS COUNT Data Book. In 2011, the state was ranked second in the nation. The state was ranked first in 2007.

This year, New Hampshire led the country in child health and well-being, followed by Massachusetts, Vermont and New Jersey, according to the Data Book.

At the bottom of the rankings was Mississippi. New Mexico was 49th, Nevada 48th, Louisiana 47th, Arizona 46th and Alabama 45th.

• North Dakota ranks first for the lowest percentage of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment and for the lowest percentage of children living in households paying more than 30 percent of income on housing. The state has the third-lowest percentage of teens not in school and not working.

Overall, the state's rankings were fairly even.

Minnesota was ranked fifth overall in family and community health, and seventh in economic wellbeing, education and health, the Data Book said.

Minnesota took a beating in the recession, and it shows in the rankings. The state is 18th in percent of children in homes where more than 30 percent of income is spent on housing. It is also 10th for percentage of children in poverty, as well as 10th in percentage of children in families where no parent has full-time employment.

Among family and community health indicators, Minnesota was sixth nationally in percentage of children in families where the head of the household lacks a high school diploma, in the percentage of children in single-parent families and in the teen birth rate.

In education, Minnesota was 27th in the nation for percentage of 3- and 4-yearolds not in preschool, and 15th in the nation for percentage of fourth-graders not proficient in reading. It was second in the U.S. for the percentage of eighthgraders proficient in math, and tied with North Dakota for third in on-time high school graduation.

In child health, Minnesota was 27th in the percentage of kids without health insurance, and 25th for the percentage of teens who abused alcohol or drugs in the past year. It was seventh for percentage of lowbirth weight babies.

Pioneer staff reports