The wellbeing of Missouri's Children is improving, depending on where they live

Missouri’s Family and Community Trust (FACT) has released the 2018 Missouri KIDS COUNT Data Book, intended to identify the needs of children and families throughout the state. The book is available at

Missouri KIDS COUNT uses outcome measures and contextual indicators to rank Missouri counties. Counties then use that information to find and address needs in their communities.


The data book provides an overall ranking for 115 counties including the City of St. Louis. The overall ranking for Kansas City area counties (ranking for 2018 and 2014 are shown) were as follow:

Jackson County (105, 104)
Clay County (10, 10)
Platte County (3, 3)
Cass County (7, 15)
Ray County (27, 39)

The highest ranking county was Osage County (central Missouri southeast of Jefferson City) and the lowest the City of St. Louis.

Outcome measures include things like children under 18 in poverty, high school graduation rate, and births to moms without a high school diploma — all strong predicators for the relationship between childhood experiences and adult outcomes.

Many of these indicators can be impacted by policy change.

“More than two decades of Missouri KIDS COUNT annual snapshots lets us track on trends impacting how our kids are doing across policy initiatives, the evolution of direct service interventions, and shifts in Missouri’s political and economic culture,” said Tracy Greever-Rice, Missouri KIDS COUNT Program Director. The following three takeaways appear to be evident in this year’s data.

  • According to the figures, Missouri’s children’s lives have improved, with 9 of 10 state-wide outcome indicators showing improvement in 2016 versus 2012.
  • The gains for Missouri’s children aren’t always equally distributed. Where children live and the quality of resources in their local communities have an impact on their well being. Children in Missouri’s most rural and most urban communities continue to face the greatest challenges.
  • Missouri’s non-white children, while improving consistently with white children, continue to face challenges grounded in exposure to persistent income inequality and low-resource neighborhoods and communities.

“The release of Missouri KIDS COUNT indicators provides a yearly opportunity for policymakers and service providers to step back from their day-in/day-out work and apply an external and evidence-based lens to the well-being of children,” said Bill Dent, FACT Executive Director.

This year’s Data Book release marks the final year that the book will be available in hard copy.

Moving forward the data will be available online and through the new Missouri KIDS COUNT app which will be available for download for both iOS and Android. This transition is part of an effort to release relevant and important data as soon as it becomes available.

“The Missouri KIDS COUNT app will facilitate the use of indicators in the public arena, in policy making, and in the field. FACT is committed to investing in the technology to keep Missouri KIDS COUNT relevant and accessible to all Missourians,” said Dent.

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. FACT’s KIDS COUNT initiative focuses on child well-being in Missouri.

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

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