2016 KIDS COUNT Shows Gains and Losses for NC Children

Teenagers of Generation Z – the rising cohort born after 1995 – continued to make progress in education and health indicators despite growing up in the most challenging economic environment in two generations, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Comparing data between approximately 2008 and 2014, teen birth rates fell 45 percent, the percent of teens abusing drugs and alcohol dropped 29 percent, and the percentage of high schoolers not graduating on time dropped by 26 percent.

At the same time, the 2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book finds that North Carolina children, families, and communities are losing ground in key measures of financial security.

  • Almost one in four children lives in poverty (24 percent), up 20 percent since 2008. 
  • 30 percent of children live in a family where no parent has full-time job, a seven percent increase since 2008.
  • The percent of children living in high-poverty communities grew 56 percent, more than twice the national average increase. One in seven children in North Carolina (14 percent) lives in a high-poverty area. 

The Data Book provides state-to-state comparisons in four areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The report ranks North Carolina 34th in the country for overall child well-being, up one spot from last year.

“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in health and education,” said Michelle Hughes, executive director of NC Child, a statewide nonprofit child advocacy group. “Now it’s time for North Carolina’s leaders to implement public policies that remove barriers to our next generation’s financial success.”

The 2016 Data Book is available at http://www.aecf.org/resources/the-2016-kids-count-data-book/. Additional information is available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users to create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and to view real-time information on mobile devices.