California Ranks 26th in U.S. for Child Health, Report Finds
Details of Report
For the report, the two organizations examined demographic, social and economic trends that have affected children's well-being in the U.S. since 1990. The report was created in conjunction with the Population Reference Bureau.
California Health Findings
California ranked 40th in the country for child well-being and 26th for child health.
Specifically, the report found that in California:
- The rate of low birth weight infants was 6.7% in 2012, compared with 8% nationally;
- The rate of children without health insurance was 8% in 2012, compared with 7% nationally;
- There were 2,129 child and teen deaths per 100,000 such individuals in 2010, compared with more than 20,000 nationally; and
- The rate of alcohol or drug misuse among teens was 8% in 2011-2012, compared with 6% nationally.
In addition, the report found that the teen birth rate in California improved "dramatically," falling from 71 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 in 1990 to 26 births per 1,000 girls in that age group in 2012.
The report also found that 24% of California children live in poverty, which can lead to parental stress and higher rates of teen pregnancy.
According to the report, "Poor health in childhood impacts other critical aspects of a child's life ... and can have lasting consequences on his or her future health and well-being" (2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book, 7/22).
Jessica Mindnich, a researcher for Children Now, said that "ranking 40th nationally on children's well-being is just not acceptable," adding that the state has "more children than any other state in this country, so when kids in California aren't doing well, that has significant implications for kids nationally."
Mindnich attributed the state's low score for child well-being to the economic recession, which she said led to increased rates of child poverty and funding cuts to state safety-net programs for children.
She said that parents of children in low-income households "may have to think a little bit longer before taking them to [the] doctor if there's a copay or prescription that has to be filled," which can put the children at higher risk for health problems (Desert Sun, 7/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.