Isles do well with teen lives, grad rates
Hawaii kids rank 11th best in well-being, study finds
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The well-being of Hawaii's children is 11th best in the nation, according to a report released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The Kids Count Data Book does a state-by-state comparison of 10 indicators suggesting child well-being, including teen birth rates and the percentages of children living in poverty and in single-parent families.
Hawaii leads the nation with the lowest percentage of teenagers who are high school dropouts and the fewest number of deaths per capita among teens ages 15 to 19.
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When it comes to the well-being of children, Hawaii has a mixed report card.
In a study of 10 parameters, the state ranks 11th in the nation, thanks chiefly to fewer deaths among teens and a low high school dropout rate, according to a report released today.
But the death rate among young kids -- most of them in traffic accidents -- continues to generate concern.
2. New Hampshire
8. North Dakota
9. New Jersey
Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation 2007 Kids Count Data Book
Seven years ago, there were 15 deaths for every 100,000 kids ages 1 to 14 in Hawaii.
Over the next four years, the state's death rate in this age group steadily increased to 21 in 2004, according to the 2007 Kids Count Data Book, a report on the well-being of the nation's children by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Nationally over the same period, the child death rate declined to 20 in 2004 from 22 in 2000.
The child death rate is one of 10 indicators used in the report in a state-by-state comparison of children's well-being. The report bases its rankings on the latest available estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Thanks to improvements in six of the 10 indicators, Hawaii's overall ranking improved to 11 this year from 21 last year. The report ranks Minnesota first and Mississippi last among the 50 states.
There has been debate over whether some of the categories are true indicators of children's well-being, but none over child death rates, said Marika Ripke, project director of Hawaii Kids Count.
"It's cut and dry," she said.
Ripke said 80 percent of the child deaths in Hawaii were traffic fatalities. Last year the state Legislature extended the age of kids required to ride in child safety or booster seats to 8 from 4.
"I'm hoping that's going to make a difference," Ripke said.
She's hoping pedestrian safety laws the Legislature approved this year also will make a difference since not all of the children who died in traffic accidents were in vehicles.
Still, there were only 19 states with a lower child death rate than Hawaii in 2004.
The state came in first with the lowest number of deaths per 100,000 among teens ages 16 to 19, and the lowest percentage of teens who are high school dropouts. The state's teen death rate in 2004 was 40, down from 41 in 2000. In 2005, 3 percent of Hawaii teens were high school dropouts compared with 5 percent in 2000.
In addition to the child death rate, the state experienced increases in the percentages of low birth-weight babies and children living in single-parent families.
The percentage of children living in poverty in 2005 is the same as it was five years earlier.
HAWAII KIDS MEASURE UP IN ANNUAL COUNT
The 2007 Kids Count Data Book, issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranks states on 10 indicators of child well-being. Here is how Hawaii compares with the U.S. average on each measure.
|Percent low birth-weight babies: 2004
|Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births): 2004
|Child death rate (deaths per 100,000 children ages 1-14): 2004
|Teen death rate (deaths per 100,000 teens ages 15-19): 2004
|Teen birth rate (births per 1,000 females ages 15-19): 2004
|Percent of teens who are high school dropouts (ages 16-19): 2005
|Percent of teens not attending school and not working (ages 16-19): 2005
|Percent of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment: 2005
|Percent of children in poverty (income below $19,806 for a family of two adults and two children): 2005
|Percent of children in single-parent families: 2005