From the Children Now Newsroom
2009 Data Book Highlights Opportunities to Improve California Children’s Well-Being
Jul 28, 2009
The 2009 KIDS COUNT Data Book released today ranks California 20th in a state-by-state study on the well-being of America’s children, an improvement of two spots from the previous year. The report shows that, between 2000 and 2006-07, California improved on five of 10 measures that affect children’s well-being. Yet, on three other measures, conditions worsened for California’s children, and on two measures conditions remained unchanged. Given the state’s current budget crisis, however, it is difficult to gauge how funding cuts to vital children’s programs and services will impact California’s future rankings.
The 20th annual Data Book also contains The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s essay, which takes stock of the nation’s progress in keeping track of children’s well-being. This year’s Data Book is complemented by an expanded KIDS COUNT Data Center, which contains hundreds of measures of child well-being and covers national, state and county data. To access information for California, go to http://datacenter.kidscount.org/ca.
Percentage of low birthweight babies decreased for the first time since 2000.
Since 2000, the percentage of low birthweight babies in California has steadily increased each year—from 6.2 percent in 2000 to 6.9 percent in 2005. In 2006, however, the percentage of low birthweight babies decreased to 6.8 percent, improving California’s national ranking from 12th in 2005 to 6th in 2006.
Infant mortality fell to its lowest level in years.
In 2006, California had the third lowest infant mortality rate in the nation, reaching its lowest point in years. Between 2000 to 2006, California’s infant mortality rate decreased 7 percent, from 5.4 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 5.0 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 2006.
Improvements in teen birth rate slipped.
While the teen birth rate had been on the decline, California mirrored a national trend with a small increase in teen births between 2005 and 2006. In 2000, California’s teen birth rate was 47 births per 1,000 females, ages 15 to 19. This rate declined to 39 births per 1,000 in 2005. Between 2005 and 2006, however, that rate inched upward to 40 births per 1,000 teen females.