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Stuck at 48 on child well-being report

The Kids Count analysis released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation again ranked Mississippi as 48th in child well-being.

There was little change from last year, though Mississippi has shown some improvements over the past decade, with fewer children in poverty, more high school students graduating on time and fewer teen births, The Associated Press reported.

The state still has 27 percent of its children living in poverty, a number that should move all of us to action. And child and teen death rates have worsened since 2010, while stats for low birth-weight babies have improved.

The report focuses on economic, education, health, family and community trends for children over a roughly seven-year period ending in 2017, AP reported.

The data for child well-being is contrasted by state leaders bragging about Mississippi’s robust economy. It’s an interesting dynamic.

If state leaders are correct that Mississippi is one of the strongest states for small and medium business growth, then why are our children doing so poorly?

Economic strength should, in theory, impact child well-bring. A stronger economy with more jobs, higher payrolls and lower unemployment should create an uptick in child well-being. Some indicators have child well-being have increased, but other states have done a better job, so Mississippi finds itself stuck near the bottom.

We encourage state leaders to turn a strong economy into real improvements in the lives of children. That starts with an increased investment in education.