The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its annual Kids Count data book:
National data mask a great deal of state-by state and regional variations in child well-being. A state-level examination of the data reveals a hard truth: A child’s chances of thriving depend not just on individual, familial and community characteristics but also on the state in which she is born and raised. States vary considerably in the amount of wealth and other resources they possess. State policy choices also strongly influence children’s chances for success.
We derive a composite index of overall child wellbeing for each state by combining data across the four domains: (1) Economic Well-Being, (2) Education, (3) Health and (4) Family and Community. These composite scores are then translated into a single state ranking for child well-being. The three highest ranked states are New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont; the three lowest ranked states are Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi.
State per capita income explains a great deal. Only three states are in the bottom half of income per capita but in the top half of the Kids Count rankings: Utah, Maine, and Idaho.
Conversely, only three states are in the top half of income but the bottom half of Kids Count: New York, Alaska, and California.
According to the National Education Association, New York and California rank among the top three states in average teacher salaries.