Iowa ranks 9th in nation for child well-being

An annual report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation has ranked Iowa ninth overall for child well-being.

The Kids Count report ranks states in the categories of economic well-being, education, health as well as family and community.

This year, to account for the COVID-19 pandemic, the report included data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey according to Radio Iowa.

Anne Discher, the executive director of Common Good Iowa, which worked on the state’s data, said data shows the state has been greatly affected by the pandemic. The report found 11% of Iowa families with children are food insecure.

“The data is much higher for many groups of color in our community,” Discher told Radio Iowa. “Thirty percent of black households with children, 18 percent of Latino households, 21 percent of households identifying as multiracial, or have some other race reported that they sometimes or often did not have enough food to eat.”

Discher said Iowa’s high ranking can be deceptive as many of the state’s families and children still need help.

“In 2019, there were 92,000 kids in Iowa that lived in households with an income below the poverty line,” she said. “And you know, for a family of three, that’s around $32,000 a year. And that is families living with a very low income.”

The report makes several policy recommendations, such as permanently expanding the federal child tax credit and strengthening state and local policies affecting families.