The lingering effects of the Great Recession continue to be felt by Missouri's children and families according to the 2016 Missouri KIDS COUNT® (MKC) Databook, released April 5 by the Family and Community Trust (FACT).
The 2016 MKC Databook shows that more than one in five children in Missouri, 21.3% or nearly 289,000, live in poverty, representing a 1.4% increase in child poverty from 2010 to 2014.
However, other indicators helpful in predicting poverty are nudging downward. For example, births to mothers without a high school diploma, a reliable predictor of persistent poverty, has improved in Missouri, with the percent of children born to such moms decreasing from approximately 17% to slightly less than 14%.
The databook provides an annual, state, and county-level analysis of child well-being measuring indicators of economic security, child protection and safety, education, and health.
"The well-being of Missouri's children and families frames the core of our work," said Bill Dent, FACT Executive Director. "The ability of our Community Partnerships and other child focused organizations to have relevant, reliable data is critical for them to be successful in their efforts.
All of this helps communities better prioritize issues and develop practical initiatives to ensure that children are healthy, secure, and prepared to flourish as they mature."
To examine trends over time, MKC compared 2014 data to the 2010 baseline data, which revealed that seven outcome measures improved in Missouri during this time period including: births to teens, teen unintentional injury/homicides/suicides, annual high school dropouts, births to mothers without a high school diploma, infant mortality, child deaths, and low birthweight infants. Outcomes that worsened between 2010 and 2014 include: children under 18 in poverty, child abuse/neglect and family assessments, and children entering/re-entering state custody.
According to the 2014 data, 1.39 million children under age 18 live in Missouri; nearly one-third (32.1%) are children under age 6; children of color make up nearly one-quarter (24.6%) of the child population; and over one-third (35%) of children live in single-parent families, up from 33.3% in 2010.
St. Louis' Data:
Locally, MKC revealed once again the tale of two St. Louis's, indicating both the best and worst of times by showing the #1 composite ranking statewide as St. Charles County and #8 ranking as St. Louis County , but St. Louis City with the lowest composite ranking statewide at #115.
The data shows four of the seven outcome measures that improved in Missouri also improved in St. Charles County and St. Louis County/City during the 2010 and 2014 time period: births to teens, annual high school dropouts, births to mothers without a high school diploma, and infant mortality.
Local outcomes that worsened between 2010 and 2014 include the same three for Missouri: children under 18 in poverty, substantiated child abuse/neglect and family assessments, and children entering/re-entering state custody. Plus these additional outcomes worsened in the St. Louis area: teen unintentional injury/ homicides/suicides (St. Louis County), child deaths (St. Charles County), and low birthweight infants (St. Louis City).
"By highlighting trends across time and between geographic areas, the 2016 MKC Databook provides policymakers and advocates with the crucial information they need to make informed decisions regarding how best to support the well- eing of children across the state," said Tracy Greever-Rice, Interim Director of the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis at the University of Missouri.
Additional new data sets will be added to future editions of the MKC Databook to support changes in the way data are collected, and to continuing show an accurate description of child well-being in Missouri.
The 2016 MKC databook was produced in partnership with the Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis (OSEDA), the Children's Trust Fund (CTF), and the Center for Family Policy and Research at the University of Missouri.
Missouri KIDS COUNT® is an initiative of FACT, a long standing organization with a commitment to improving child well-being in Missouri. FACT is made up of a public private board and 20 Community Partnerships working across Missouri on programs aiming to improve family and child outcomes. FACT is in its third year as the Annie E. Casey Foundation KIDS COUNT® grantee in Missouri, and the 2016 MKC Databook is the first published as part of this affiliation.
ARCHS is the St. Louis region's state designated FACT community partnership. As St. Louis' KIDS COUNT® partner, ARCHS strategically enhances 18 education and social service programs provided at more than 325 locations that annually improve the lives of more than 93,000 of the St. Louis region's most vulnerable children and their family members.
For more information or to download the 2016 MKC Databook, visit mokidscount.org.