The annual Kids Count Data Book has released its state-by-state rankings and found New Jersey was 4th in the nation in terms of overall well-being of children. Kids Count is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which monitors states and other institutions in various indicators that it considers essential to a child’s well-being.
The Garden State got it highest marks in education, 2nd behind only Massachusetts, and children’s health, in which it ranked 5th. New Jersey improved in the number of children attending preschool, and in fourth grade reading proficiency and eight grade math proficiency. It also has fewer children without health insurance, fewer child and teen deaths, and less teen alcohol and drug abuse.
The state ranked 9th in terms of family and community, improving in the number of head of households with only a high-school diploma. But New Jersey was penalized for having a higher number of single-parent families and kids living in high-poverty areas.
The state’s worst ranking — 19th — came in terms of economic well-being of its children. There are a higher percentage of children in poverty, parents lack secure employment, children living in households with a high housing cost burden and more