New Jersey has steadily climbed the ladder nationally in key indicators of child health and well-being, now ranking fifth in the country, according to Kids Count of The Annie E. Casey Foundation.
New Jersey ranked seventh in 2010 and ninth in 2009. The better ranking was due to improvements in the infant mortality rate, which dropped from 6.3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2000 to 5.2 in 2007. Teen deaths and teen births have also steadily declined. Teen deaths dipped from 48 to 44 deaths per 100,000 teens from 2000 to 2007, and teen births declined from 32 percent of births in 2000 to 24 percent in 2008.
New Hampshire, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Vermont ranked higher than New Jersey in key indicators. The worst-performing states were Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas. Pennsylvania ranked 20th and New York ranked 15th in the 2011 survey.