kidscount_web22003 Kids Count Data Book

Child Well-Being in Massachusetts at a Glance

Massachusetts ranks 9th among all states in a new state-by-state study that reports on the well-being of America's children - slipping slightly from 6th and 4th in the immediately preceding years. The 2003 KIDS COUNT Data Book shows that Massachusetts improved between 1990 and 2000 on seven out of 10 measures that reflect child well-being, but experienced setbacks on three other indicators.

Massachusetts earns its highest rankings from low death rates for kids.
In the last decade, Massachusetts improved its infant, child, and teen death rates. The infant mortality rate improved by 34 percent between 1990 and 2000, and the teen death rate improved by 48 percent. Massachusetts ranks 1st in the nation on both measures. Although there was a 25-percent improvement in the state's death rate of children ages 1-14 from 1990 to 2000, it increased from 11 to 15 per 100,000 between 1998 and 2000. Massachusetts ranks 3rd on this indicator.

Persistent child poverty
There was a slight increase in the percent of Massachusetts children living in poverty during the past decade. The child poverty rate was 14% in 1989 and 15% in 1999, which is 221,900 children.

Despite improvements, many children have no parent with full-time year-round employment. Massachusetts' worst ranking is for secure parental employment, where it ranked 42nd among states. Though the numbers improved over the decade, in 2000, 29 percent of Massachusetts' children did not have a parent with full-time, year-round employment. The national average was 24 percent.

Over half of families eligible for Food Stamps do not receive them.
Food Stamps provide a valuable asset to low-income families, significantly cutting the cost of food supplies and freeing other income. But in Massachusetts, 57 percent of those eligible for Food Stamps in 2000 did not claim them.

EITC credits give economic boosts to families with children.
In Massachusetts, 195,000 households with children receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a credit that rewards work and helps lift some families out of poverty; making it perhaps the nation's most effective anti-poverty program for the working poor The average credit to households with children is $1,842 in Massachusetts, compared to the national average of $1,968. Massachusetts supplements this amount with a state EITC.

Housing costs drain low-income families' resources.
In low-income households, housing costs often take up a significant portion of a family's income, weakening a family's ability to pay for other necessities. In Massachusetts, 66 percent of low-income households with children pay housing costs that exceed the recommended threshold of 30 percent of the family's income.

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