N.H. Earns High Marks in Latest 'Kids Count' Report, With Some Exceptions

Jun 21, 2016

New Hampshire remains near the top of the list in an annual ranking of kids’ well-being, but the same report shows that issues with child poverty — while less prevalent here than in other states — have grown.

In the newest edition of Kids Count, a report produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, New Hampshire comes in at No. 4 in the nation for overall child well-being. Much of the rankings used in the report use data from 2014.

The state comes in first place for “family and community” indicators affecting children, fourth on educational achievement, seventh on economic security and 25th for children’s health.

“We’re happy that New Hampshire is first in the nation again in the family and community domain,” says Amy Bourgalt, director of New Hampshire Kids Count. “That’s a reflection of supportive communities, and children who live in nurturing families and are part of supportive communities have better outcomes.”

Despite coming in at a lower ranking for kids’ health — a drop from 16th place last year — New Hampshire still fares better than the national average on most of the areas examined in that section of the report.

In 2014, 6.9 percent of babies here were born at a low birthweight, compared to 8 percent of babies nationally. The same year, 4.4 percent of kids in New Hampshire lacked health insurance, compared to 5.1 percent nationally.

The state also reported a lower child death rate than the national average in 2014, but it did report a higher rate of teens who misused drugs or alcohol: 6.3 percent in New Hampshire, compared with 5.1 percent for the national average.

Between 2008 and 2014, New Hampshire also saw a rise in the percentage of kids living in poverty, kids whose parents don’t have secure jobs, kids living in single-parent families and kids living in high-poverty areas, according to the report.