Report: N.H.'s Economic Well-Being Declining, But N.H. Kids' Well-Being Still #1
New Hampshire is the best state in the country for child well-being, according to a national study released this week.
The 2019 Kids Count Data Book, funded by the Annie E Casey Foundation, shows New Hampshire's student test scores and children's health outcomes are some of the highest in the country and are improving.
New Hamsphire ranked high in other health, family and community, and education indicators, but the state's overall economic well-being declined.
The rate of childhood poverty in New Hamsphire was 11 percent, with significant variations among counties. In Hillsborough County, for instance, the average family income is over $89,000; in Coos County it is $52,000.
"Regional variations matter greatly," said Rebecca Woitkowski, Early Childhood Policy Coordinator with New Futures. "Children who live in poverty are more likely to have adverse experinces that can lead to negative long-term health and financial consequences."
Woitkowski said much of the news from the Kids Count Data book is reassuring, but the rankings obscure financial hardship, since they don't factor in New Hampshire's high cost of living - 21% higher than the national average.
Woitiowski also cited limited access to preschool and affordable childcare as possible areas for improvement.
50 percent of the state's three and four year-olds are in preschool. This is slightly higher the national average, but lower than some neighboring states.
"We know that access to quality early education programs can help set students on a path to success," said Woitiowski, " And we'd want to look to how we can improve this ranking,"