National child well-being trends give baseline for telling the story of Missouri children

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book detailing the latest national rankings of states across 16 key measures within four domains including economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. The 2017 report highlights areas of improvement including

  • a historic number of children have health insurance
  • higher employment
  • fewer families burdened by housing costs
  • a slight decrease in the number of people living in poverty

The report also recognizes areas of concern including a significant number of children living in high-poverty, where 30% or more of the population in a designated area lives at or below the federal poverty level. Despite a higher number of high schoolers graduating, the report notes challenges in the proficiency of 8th graders in math and 4th graders in reading.

On a local level, Missouri KIDS COUNT data is used to take a deeper look into the issues and areas impacting children than is possible at the national level. Missouri has seen improvement in family economic well-being with more parents employed full-time, fewer families spending a burdensome amount of their income on housing costs, and a drop in the number of teen mothers. However, despite these positive trends, the number of Missouri fourth graders who are not reading at grade level is only slightly lower than the national average and the percentage of Missouri’s eighth graders not proficient in math is slightly higher than the national average. Also, a substantial number of Missouri’s children continue to live in high-poverty neighborhoods where they are surrounded by poverty, making it harder at multiple levels to thrive.

Knowing the numbers as they relate to the larger picture can help policymakers make the best decisions in supporting health care, education and economic stability programs that move Missouri’s children in the right direction.

“The national report is always a mix of information that highlights challenges and opportunities.  We will keep our focus on what we know, that continued investment in our children reaps rewards for all of us,” said Bill Dent, Executive Director, Family and Community Trust.

Since 2013, the Family and Community Trust (FACT) has served as Missouri’s KIDS COUNT affiliate. FACT is the state level, private/public organization that governs a network of 20 Community Partnerships focused on achieving better results for children and families.

LINC is the Community Partnership for Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties.

To read data informed stories and access specific data and information about the well-being of Missouri children visit

To view the AECF 2017 Data Book go to

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