MTPR

Montana Ranks Low In Children's Health, Average On Overall Well-being

Jun 18, 2019

Montana ranks low among U.S. states in children’s health, but is about average in overall child well-being, says a new report.

Though Montana ranks 22nd in the country for overall child well-being, it places 44th for children’s health. That is according to the new KIDS COUNT Data Book the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Monday. It offers data on health, education and other indicators of the state of the nation’s children.

Montana moved up two spots in health since last year. The report attributes that to the percentage of children without health insurance dropping by more than half and a 40 percent drop in the child and teen death rate since 2010.

Thale Dillon, the director of economic research for Montana Kids Count, says that motor vehicle related deaths drive the high child and teen death rate in Montana and that the state has one of the highest rates of teen alcohol abuse.

“We have seen no change in the last couple of years," Dillon said. "One would expect that to go down because that is also a national trend.”

Montana ranks 20th in education, but Dillon says an uptick in 8th graders who are not proficient in math should be cause for concern.

“That doesn’t bode well for our future in tech and science-heavy work forces,” she said.

Montana performed best in the family and community context indicator, taking 11th place. The report says that fewer Montana children live in single-parent households or homes where the head-of-household does not have a high school diploma and teen pregnancy has gone down.