kidscount_web22006 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Massachusetts ranks tenth among all states in the just released 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book that reports the well-being of America's children. The 17th annual state-by-state study issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and distributed through Massachusetts Citizens for Children shows that

  • Massachusetts improved in three out of ten measures that reflect child well-being,
  • experienced setbacks in four indicators, and
  • saw no change in three since 2000.

This year's report highlights the early childhood experiences of young children, including a special focus on children under age six who are in family-based child care. Key findings:

Children in Poverty Continues:
Despite some improvement in economic indicators, the number of children in poverty and in low income families remains a persistent problem in Massachusetts. Thirteen (13%) of Massachusetts children are living in poverty - placing the state #10 in ranking - down from #5 last year. Six (6%) of children are living in extreme poverty or at 50% of the federal poverty level. Additionally, 31% of the state's children live in families where no parent had full-time year-round employment.

Child death rate drops in Massachusetts.
Between 2000 and 2003, the death rate of children ages 1-14 dropped 13 percent, ranking Massachusetts behind only New Hampshire for the nation's lowest child death rate. This marks the best ranking for the state in all of the 10 categories.

High school dropouts mark state's worst ranking.
Massachusetts dropped to 32nd in the nation for its rate of teens (ages 16-19) who are high school dropouts in 2004, compared to a 12th place ranking just four years earlier. While the national drop-out rate has decreased, Massachusetts has remained at 8 percent since 2000. This marks Massachusetts worst ranking among the ten indicators.

Number of idle teens on the rise.
Nine percent of teenagers in Massachusetts are not attending school and not working, a 50 percent increase from 2000. In 2004, more than 25,000 youths were idle, compared with over 17,500 in 2000. This increase dropped Massachusetts from 6th in the nation in this category to 27th in 2004.

Share of teens giving birth going down.
A lower share of teens is giving birth in Massachusetts. In 2003, Massachusetts ranked third overall in the nation in teen birth rate at 23 percent. These numbers show a steady decline in this category since 2000, a decrease of 12 percent. More than 4,600 teens gave birth in Massachusetts in 2004, compared with about 5,300 in 2000.

Rankings at a Glance

Ø #2 in Child death rate
Improved by 13% 2000 to 2003. Improved slightly nationally.

Ø #3 in Infant mortality
Got worse slightly in from 2000 to 2003. Stayed the same nationally.

Ø #3 in Teen birth rate
Continued to improve nationally and in Massachusetts from 2000 to 2003.

Ø #5 in Teen death rate
Worsened in Massachusetts from 2000 to 2003. Stayed the same nationally.

Ø #20 in % low birthweight babies
Got worse slightly nationally and in Massachusetts from 2000 to 2003.

Massachusetts improved in three measures:

  • Child death rate from 15 per 100,000 (ages 1-14) to 13 per 100,000 in 2003
  • Teen birth rate from 26 births per 1,000 (ages 15-19) to 23 per 1,000 in 2003
  • Children in poverty dropped from 14% in 2000 to 13% in 2004

Massachusetts declined in four measures:

  • Low birth weight babies from 7.1% in 2000 to 7.6% 2003
  • Infant mortality from 4.6 deaths per thousand live births in 2000 to 4.8 in 2003
  • Teen death rate from 40 per 100,000 in 2000 to 51 in 2003
  • Teens not attending school and not working from 6% in 2000 to 9% in 2004

No change (from 2000 to 2004):

  • Percent of teens that are high school drop outs stayed at 8% from 2000 to 2004
  • Children in families where no parent has full time, year round
  • employment at 31%; Children in single parent households at 29%

Previous Annual Fact Sheets