Over the past 30 years, the annual Kids County Data Book has been tracking things like low birth-weight babies, children in poverty and young children not in school. Researchers track if states do better, worse or the same among 16 markers of health, education, economic well-being and family life.
The new report, released this week, found that from 2016 to 2017, West Virginia improved on 10 of the 16 markers and did worse on 6. Nationally, America saw improvements on 11 of the 16 markers.
But the databook also points to places that need continued improvement. One in six American kids grow up in poverty and there’s been virtually no change to that statistic since the databook was first published in 1990. 2017 was also the first year since 2010 that saw an increase in uninsured kids -- although that rate continued to decline in West Virginia from 5 to 3 percent.
Babies born with a low birth weight also increased at both the national and state level -- the third increase in three years.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.