Kid Count data worth considering
Monday will mark the 39th celebration of Earth Day, and the date may be more important to recognize now than ever before.
The latest Kids Count in Michigan Data Book has been released, and it’s fairly good news for Marquette County.
The county ranks 20th out of 82 counties for overall child well-being in Michigan, with Keweenaw County not included because it lacks sufficient data.
The ranking puts Marquette County well into the top third in the state.
Alger County placed 29th.
The data book includes indicators in four categories: economic security, health and safety, family and community, and education.
Comparing counties from 2012 to 2017, 79 counties saw an improvement in their child poverty rate, according to the Lansing-based Michigan League for Public Policy, which released the book.
Meanwhile, 63 counties experienced a worsening trend regarding births to mothers receiving adequate prenatal care, although 76 counties had a reduction in their teen birth rate.
In the education category, data shows the rate of students not graduating on time in Michigan improved in 58 counties, but communities still struggle to support third-grade reading, with 65 counties seeing a decline in proficiency.
Alicia Guevara Warren, project director for Kids Count in Michigan, said in a news release that the data book has been working to draw attention to “pervasive” child poverty for years, and that 1 in 5 kids still is unacceptable — and that rate is higher for children of minorities.
“A family’s lack of economic security affects a child’s well-being in many ways, and we can address these challenges early and holistically, as the book contains concrete recommendations for policymakers to better support kids and families.”
These recommendations include raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18 years old; strengthening policies that support work, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit; and expanding home visitation programs to provide more support to families.
It’s a cliche that kids are the world’s future, but it’s true. Youngsters who are nurtured well in their formative years stand a better chance of having better lives later.
Acquiring and studying data is a good step, but only one step, in achieving this goal.
— The Mining Journal (Marquette)