The 2014 Data Book shows South Carolina remains at 45th in the nation in child well-being. While South Carolina children are showing progress in some areas, the progress is not significant enough for South Carolina’s children to move out of the bottom 10 percent of the country.
South Carolina’s children struggle in education and economic well-being. For example:
Children not attending preschool
2005-07 – 23%
Fourth graders not proficient in reading
2005 – 74%
Eighth graders not proficient in math
2005 – 70%
2005 – 23%
For children of color, the numbers are even more disparate. Only 13 percent of African-American children are reading proficiently by fourth grade and have math proficiency by eighth grade.
This special 25th edition of the KIDS COUNT Data Book highlights efforts since 1990 to raise awareness locally and nationally about how kids are doing and what policies and programs might lead to improvements in child well-being in our nation.
Nationally there are also worrisome trends:
- Rise in the official child poverty rate as defined by the federal government. Although the rate dropped from 18 to 16 percent from 1990 to 2000, the rate reached 22 percent by 2010. This figure has remained at roughly that level.
- In 2012, nearly 16.4 million kids were living in poverty.
- In 1990, 25 percent of kids lived in a single-parent household; by 2012, the figure had risen to 35 percent.
- Higher percentage of low-birthweight babies.
- The rate of children growing up in poor communities has also increased with 13 percent of children living in a neighborhood where the poverty rate is 30 percent or higher in 2012.
There are also areas of improvements over the long-term:
- Steady improvement in the number of kids attending preschool.
- Decline in the number of kids not proficient in reading and math.
- Increased access to health insurance for children.
- Teen birth rate has fallen to a historic low, declining by half between 1990 and 2012.
- Falling mortality rates for children and teens (resulting from medical advances, increased use of seat belts, car seats and bike helmets).
- Increase in the education level of parents – a drop in the percentage of children living in families with a parent without a high school diploma.
KIDS COUNT Data Center
The KIDS COUNT initiative also maintains the KIDS COUNT Data Center. The Data Center is a one-stop source for child well-being data and includes national, state, county, city, congressional and school district level information, as well as data on racial and ethnic groups, including children in immigrant families.
The Data Center information includes profiles and customizable maps, graphs and rankings for use in publications and presentations. The Data Center can be accessed on mobile devices at mobile.kidscount.org.