The lingering effects of the Great Recession continue to be felt by Missouri's children and families according to the 2016 Missouri KIDS COUNT® (MKC) Databook, released April 5 by the Family and Community Trust (FACT).
The 2016 MKC Databook shows that more than one in five children in Missouri, 21.3% or nearly 289,000, live in poverty, representing a 1.4% increase in child poverty from 2010 to 2014.
However, other indicators helpful in predicting poverty are nudging downward. For example, births to mothers without a high school diploma, a reliable predictor of persistent poverty, has improved in Missouri, with the percent of children born to such moms decreasing from approximately 17% to slightly less than 14%.
The databook provides an annual, state, and county-level analysis of child well-being measuring indicators of economic security, child protection and safety, education, and health.
"The well-being of Missouri's children and families frames the core of our work," said Bill Dent, FACT Executive Director. "The ability of our Community Partnerships and other child focused organizations to have relevant, reliable data is critical for them to be successful in their efforts.
All of this helps communities better prioritize issues and develop practical initiatives to ensure that children are healthy, secure, and prepared to flourish as they mature."
To examine trends over time, MKC compared 2014 data to the 2010 baseline data, which revealed that seven outcome measures improved in Missouri during this time period including: births to teens, teen unintentional injury/homicides/suicides, annual high school dropouts, births to mothers without a high school diploma, infant mortality, child deaths, and low birthweight infants. Outcomes that worsened between 2010 and 2014 include: children under 18 in poverty, child abuse/neglect and family assessments, and children entering/re-entering state custody.