2019 KidsCount Data Shows Bright Spots…and Room to Improve


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This month the 30th annual KidsCount Databook was published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report is filled with information about children’s health, education, and economic wellbeing. 

Here are some report highlights about California and about early learning and education: 

California’s Child Well-being

California is ranked 35th out of the 50 states in overall child wellbeing.  

  • California has good results in the category of health, ranked 7th in the nation, with 97% of children receiving health insurance coverage. 

  • That positive performance is offset by very low rankings in Education (36th), and in Economic Wellbeing (46th). 43 percent of California’s children live in households spending more than 1/3 of their incomes on housing.

Early Learning Data

During 2015-17 (the latest data available), 52% (4.2 million) of children aged 3 and 4 nationwide were not in school.  

Preschool, important for many aspects of children’s present and future wellbeing, is also a driver of key education milestones,  4th-grade reading, and 8th-grade math proficiency. 

  • Disparities among states are wide for these measures:  Massachusetts is the only state in which less than half (35%) of 4th graders are not at reading proficiency, compared with a high of 75% in New Mexico. 

  • Nationwide, two-thirds of public school eighth-graders were not proficient in math in 2017.

California’s performance in reading and math proficiency is not strong but has shown improvement.

  • In 2017 69 percent of fourth-graders were reading below proficiency, down from 81 percent in 1992. 

  • During the same timeframe, the percentage of eighth-graders who scored below proficient in math dropped from 88 percent to 71 percent.

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