Massachusetts 2014 Data Book

Massachusetts kids
lead nation in well-being, but even here far too
many live in poverty

Children have a greater
opportunity to thrive and succeed in
Massachusetts than in any other state, according to the 50-state
ranking announced today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT
project (full report available HERE).
Because of our
Commonwealth’s long record of making effective investments in
the education and health of our children, they lead the nation in
educational achievement and are less likely to be without health
insurance than children in any other state.

Nonetheless, one in seven Massachusetts children lives in poverty.
While that’s better than the national rate of about one in
five, it’s not a number to be proud of, and we have much work
to do to provide every child with a real opportunity to succeed.

“The investments we have made in our children have helped them to be
better prepared to succeed than children anywhere else in
America,” said Noah Berger, President of MassBudget, the
Massachusetts KIDS COUNT group. “Yet, far too many of our
children are still being left behind. Working together, through our
government, we can make sure that all of our kids have access, from
their earliest days, to the basic supports they need to

The report highlights progress
we have made in Massachusetts, but
the work still to be done:

  • A nation-leading 47 percent
    our fourth graders are proficient readers. Unfortunately, that means 53
    percent are not. We can give those students a much greater opportunity
    to succeed by expanding access to high quality early education and
    strengthening the capacity of our schools in every community.
  • Nearly all of our children

    99 percent — have access to health insurance. But health challenges
    remain. For example, our children are about as likely to abuse drugs
    and alcohol as kids everywhere.
  • We have one of the lowest
    child poverty rates in the country. At the same time, many of our
    families struggle to pay for basic necessities. Over one-third of our
    children live in households that struggle to afford housing.

Dismantling the barriers to success that are holding back too many of
our children will not be easy. It requires improving our schools and
the array of supports our kids need to be ready to thrive in school. It
also requires strengthening our systems for supporting the most
vulnerable children in the Commonwealth, especially those at risk of
abuse and neglect and those involved in our juvenile justice system.

“We can also pursue economic policies that help low-income
families earn decent wages and have incomes that let them provide a
better life for their children,” Berger said. “In
the long run, expanding economic opportunity for all of our kids and
families is likely the most effective way to build a strong economy
that works for everyone.”

For the full report, please click HERE.

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