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How California Children Are Faring Depends on the County in Which They Live

Jun 20, 2007

OAKLAND, CA – Wide disparities in children’s well-being from county to county are presented in a new report by Children Now, a leading nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children thrive. Released today, the 2007 California County Data Book is an online, public resource providing the most comprehensive county-level data on children’s health, education and family economic status. It also provides county rankings for key indicators. These data illuminate the vast differences between counties that are masked by statewide figures.

For example:

  • While the percentage of children without health insurance is 7% statewide, percentages by county are as high as 17% in Shasta County.
  • Preschool enrollment rates range from 74% in Marin County to 23% in Tulare County; statewide it’s 42%.
  • Children who visited a dentist in the past year ranges from 88% in San Benito and San Francisco counties to 61% in Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono and Tuolumne counties; 80% of all California children did so.
  • Statewide, 43% of children score proficient or above on the California Standards Test for English; county-by-county the percentages range from 68% in Marin County to 32% in Tulare County.
  • Statewide, 52% of children score proficient or above on the California Standards Test for Math; county-by-county the percentages range from 72% in Marin County to 42% in Mendocino County.

In total, the Data Book delivers 45 indicators of children’s well-being for each of the state’s 58 counties. Additionally, it provides county rankings for 11 critical indicators and also reports county data by race/ethnicity. This new online resource empowers users with the ability to answer such questions as how the 763,000 California children currently without health insurance are geographically distributed. It is the most complete, current set of county-level data on California children’s well-being available today and is free to the public.

“Even in the best performing counties, too many kids aren’t receiving the basic developmental supports of health insurance and early education they need to reach their potential,” said Ted Lempert, Children Now’s president. “Our hope is that the local relevance of these data will engage more people in addressing children’s issues and boil up to the state-level policy changes that are needed.”

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