Isle keiki fare well in national study of children's welfare
A yearly study indicates that welfare of Hawaii's children ranks 13th among states.
A yearly study indicates that the welfare of Hawaii's children follows the national trend in most areas, which is mostly encouraging. In categories where Hawaii statistics worsened while national statistics improved, Hawaii remained better than the national average, resulting in a fairly good report card that, nevertheless, leaves room for improvement.
The Baltimore-based Anne E. Casey Foundation has been issuing KIDS COUNT Data Books every year for more than a decade. Measuring data from 2000 to 2005 or 2006, Hawaii dropped from the 11th to 13th best state in the country for children to live.
Hawaii leads all other states in the death rate of children ages 15 through 19, dropping from 41 per 100,000 in 2000 to 37 in 2005, while the national death rate for that age group fell only slightly, from 67 to 65 per 100,000.
That was "a pretty substantial decline" in Hawaii, Laura Beavers, the KIDS COUNT project coordinator told the Star-Bulletin's Helen Altonn. However, the death rate among Hawaii children younger than that grew from 15 to 16 per 100,000, still lower than the national rate of 20, down from 22 per 100,000.
It supposedly was third best in the rate of children living in poverty, with a four-member family income of less than $20,000 - a measurement made meaningless by Hawaii's high cost of living.
An encouraging finding is that the percentage of those ages 16-19 not attending school and not working dropped in Hawaii from 10 percent to 6 percent from 2000 to 2006 - ninth lowest in the country - while the national rate inched down from 9 percent to 8 percent. However, the islands' high school dropout rate in that age group grew from 5 percent to 6 percent while the national rate fell from 11 percent to 7 percent.
Following a national trend, the percent of children in single-parent families grew from 24 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2006. The national rate remained higher at 32 percent, down from 31 percent.
One category where Hawaii shines is the low rate of juvenile crime. The number of Hawaii youths ages 10 to 15 in custody for crimes was 123, a rate of 36 per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 125 per 100,000 youths. The arrest rate of 196 juveniles ages 10 to 17 per 100,000 for violent crimes was much lower than the national rate of 283.