Louisiana ranks 48th in overall child well-being, a report finds

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Aerial picture Downtown Baton Rouge Louisiana USA

Louisiana kids rank close to the underside of the nation in total well-being, in keeping with the newest Youngsters Rely Knowledge E book report, printed by the Annie E. Casey Basis.

The report “describes how kids throughout the USA have been faring earlier than… the coronavirus pandemic,” as the newest obtainable information used was from 2019. States’ rankings are calculated by analyzing how kids fare in 4 classes: financial well-being, schooling, well being and household and neighborhood. 

Louisiana ranked 48th total in little one well-being. Solely Mississippi and New Mexico fared worse.

“Even earlier than the pandemic, Louisiana ranked 48th in total little one well-being, and all obtainable information counsel that situations have deteriorated since 2019 for a lot of of our kids and households,” mentioned Teresa Falgoust, director of knowledge and analysis at Agenda for Kids, Louisiana’s member of the KIDS COUNT community, mentioned in a information launch. “As our state emerges from the pandemic, we have to make little one well-being a prime precedence in all of our insurance policies, from the state funds to housing coverage.”

Louisiana’s challenges have lengthy been a continuing. Allison Plyer, a chief demographer on the Knowledge Heart, a nonprofit in New Orleans that analyzes information in Southeastern Louisiana, helped write Pandemic to Prosperity, a sequence of stories trying on the situations in susceptible communities — together with these within the South. She mentioned disasters, just like the COVID-19 pandemic, “speed up pre-existing tendencies.”

The report additionally famous that starvation, hopelessness and accessibility stay stressors for Louisiana households. A fifth of households with kids reported meals insecurity in March and 28% “reported feeling down, depressed or hopeless,’’ in comparison with a nationwide common of 22%.

Mentioned Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Basis: “The COVID-19 pandemic is essentially the most extraordinary disaster to hit households in many years. Deliberate coverage selections can assist them recuperate, and we’re already seeing the beginnings of that. Policymakers ought to use this second to restore the harm the pandemic has induced — and to deal with long- standing inequities it has exacerbated.”

Financial well-being

Earlier than the pandemic, 27 p.c — or 289,000 Louisiana kids — have been dwelling in poverty.

The report mentioned 19% of Louisiana kids reside in high-poverty areas, greater than double the nationwide charge of 9 p.c. And almost half of the state’s kids reside in a single-parent family.

Rising up in poverty is among the biggest threats to wholesome little one growth,” the Youngsters Rely report mentioned. “It will increase the chance {that a} little one can be uncovered to components that may impair mind growth and result in poor tutorial, cognitive and well being outcomes.”

Thirty-three p.c — or 356,000 — of youngsters’s dad and mom lacked safe employment and 9 p.c of teenagers weren’t at school and never working.

The destructive results of poverty on children can prolong into their teenage years and younger maturity, as they’re extra prone to cope with points resembling teen being pregnant and failing to graduate from highschool,” in keeping with the report.

These numbers are prone to have solely risen because the pandemic, as unprecedented unemployment, and low unemployment advantages weren’t sufficient to cowl fundamental dwelling bills in any Southern state besides Kentucky, the place the usual month-to-month unemployment payout is $400 greater than the subsequent highest Southern state, in keeping with the Pandemic to Prosperity report. 

Louisiana has one of many lowest weekly unemployment advantages within the nation at $247, which is able to rise by $28 subsequent yr. Gov. John Bel Edwards has mentioned he’ll possible finish the $300 federal complement on the finish of July. 


Seventy-four p.c of Louisiana’s 4th graders weren’t proficient in studying and 77 p.c of Louisiana’s eighth graders weren’t proficient in math, and it’s unknown how a lot these numbers have modified because the pandemic despatched college students from in-person school rooms to digital ones.

“Kids who attain fourth grade with out having the ability to learn proficiently usually tend to battle academically and finally drop out of faculty,” the Youngsters Rely report mentioned.  “Low studying proficiency can also cut back incomes potential and possibilities for profession success as adults.”

The report additionally famous that simply 20 p.c of Louisiana excessive schoolers graduated on time in 2019.

Well being

Thirty-five p.c of Louisiana kids have been overweight in 2019, and it’s unknown how a lot these numbers have elevated as households grew to become extra sedentary after stay-at-home orders and lockdowns throughout the pandemic.

“Kids who battle with their weight are at greater threat for a variety of well being issues, together with bronchial asthma, coronary heart illness, diabetes and most cancers,” in keeping with the report. “They’re additionally extra prone to expertise social and emotional difficulties.”

Thirty-six of each 100,000 Louisiana kids died in 2019 in comparison with 25 of 100,000 nationwide. The Youngsters Rely report says the kid dying charge “displays a broad array of things: bodily and psychological well being; entry to well being care; neighborhood points; use of security practices; and, particularly for youthful kids, the extent of grownup supervision.”

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