The Best State for Kids: New Hampshire

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New Hampshire might just be the best place for kids to grow up, a new study suggests.

Kids’ well-being was higher in New Hampshire than in any other state, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an organization that ranks states based on U.S. Census Bureau data and other statistics on children and families.

New Hampshire was followed by Minnesota and Vermont as the best states for child well-being, with Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas ranking worst, according to the foundation’s massive annual Kids Count Data Book.

The study focuses on statistics including teen birth rates, poverty rates, death rates school attendance to calculate the rankings. The census data used is from 2008, the most recent statistics available.

New Hampshire had the lowest teen birth rate in the U.S., at 20 births per 1,000 teenage girls between 15 and 19 years old. In Mississippi, there were 72 children born for every 1,000 teen girls in that age range, according to the data.

“Teenage childbearing can have long-term negative effects on both the adolescent mother and the newborn,” the study observes. “Babies born to teen mothers are at higher risk of being low birth weight and preterm. They are also far more likely to be born into families with limited educational and economic resources, which function as barriers to future success,” the foundation explains.

New Hampshire also had the lowest poverty rate at 9%, according to 2008 data. That year, poverty was considered an income below $21,834 for a family of two adults and two children. In Mississippi, the poverty rate was 30%, the foundation reports.

Sadly, the child death rate in New Hampshire actually increased, while the rate decreased in 40 other states, according to the study.

Among some of the most notable statistics, 31% of children lived in single-parent households, and 27% of children lived in households where no parent had full-time work year-round, the foundation says.

The unemployment rate grew from 4.6% in to 2007 to 9.3% 2009, according to the Economic Policy Institute, and the rate of children living in poverty in 2008 was 18% nationwide, the Data Book notes.

But when new census data is available later this year, that rate is expected to rise above 20%, according to the foundation. That’s partly because the most recent census data is from the 12 months prior to the data’s release in 2008, while the economic downturn hit families the hardest at the end of 2008, the foundation says.

Interestingly, New Hampshire also ranked the drunkest state in America yet the most peaceful state, MainStreet previously reported.

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