EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 25, 2013

N.H. tops list for kids' well-being

CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire remains the top state in a national survey of children’s well-being.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation Kid’s Count Data Book released yesterday shows that, based on data from 2010 and 2011, there are fewer children in the state without health insurance; the teen birth rate has dropped by 11 percent to a historic low; and the rate of high school students not graduating in four years has declined. The teen death rate also has decreased.

Vermont was the second best state in child well-being, followed by Massachusetts.

But the negative impact of the recession remains evident. Just like last year, the data showed an increase in New Hampshire children living in high poverty areas. In 2011, the child poverty rate stood at 12 percent in the state, or 33,000 children — an increase of 2,000 children since 2009.

“We know that we still have work to do to improve the lives of children in our state,” said Ellen Fineberg, executive director of the Children’s Alliance of New Hampshire.

The survey showed that the number of children living in households in New Hampshire where both parents lack full-time employment — 65,000 in 2011 — is a minor improvement from 2010. But it was still more than 4,000 more than in 2008.

Nationally, the number of children whose parents lacked full-time employment throughout the year was nearly 20 percent higher than in 2008.

New Hampshire has had the highest score in the country, based on different indicators, in the last 11 of 12 years.

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