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April 1, 2014

Race matters. That’s the message of the new Kids Count policy report: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, which looked at 12 measures of child wellbeing across different races for every state in the country.

The report found that while New Jersey's Asian-American kids rated second in the country (903 out of 1,000) and whites were tied for first with Massachusetts in that cohort (827), African-American and Latino children did not fare nearly as well. Latinos scored 502 and African-American children scored 455 in New Jersey, ranking eighth and ninth, respectively.

The biggest gaps between African-Americans and Latinos and other races are in educational achievement. These children lag when it comes to proficient scoring in reading at a fourth-grade level (only 20 percent of Latinos scored at or above proficient), and the percentage of African-Americans that scored at or above proficient in math in the eighth grade was only 24 percent. That may be why only 29 percent of black children and 20 percent of Latinos have completed an associate degree or higher.

On a positive note, New Jersey ranked higher than most other states in almost every measure and for every race.

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