· By Patti Epler
Hawaii’s children are making strides in education but face worsening economic conditions since the period before the recession, according to the newest KIDS COUNT Data Book.
The report, which was released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compiles national and state-level data on the well-being of children. Hawaii falls smack dab in the middle of the data book’s overall state rankings, at 25th place.
The report looks at 16 indicators in 14 areas related to children’s well-being: economic well-being, education, health and the family and community context.
Conditions for Hawaii’s children have improved on some fronts since the pre-recession era and worsened on others.
For example, on three of the four economic indicators — children living in poverty, children whose parents lack secure employment and children in households with a high housing cost burden — conditions have worsened since the pre-recession period. For one, 17 percent of the state’s children were living in poverty in 2012, versus 13 percent in 2005.
Hawaii also has one of the highest rates in the country of children in households with a steep housing cost burden: 46 percent in 2012, versus 37 percent in 2005. (The U.S. average in 2012 was 38 percent.)
On the brighter side, the state’s children continue to make gains in education, showing improvement among all four indicators, including reading and math proficiency and on-time high school graduation rates. For example, 70 percent of the state’s fourth graders lacked proficiency in reading in 2012, compared with 77 percent in 2005. The percentages for eighth-grade math proficiency were 68 percent versus 82 percent, respectively.
Still, Hawaii still ranks near the bottom third on the education indicators. It ranked 31st in the country in 2012 for education.
Hawaii children’s well-being in the health domain hasn’t experienced much change since the pre-recession period. The state still has …
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· By Patti Epler
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