Study: Minnesota Best State for Children


Kids Count survey from Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Minnesota first.

A study released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Minnesota as the best state in the union for children’s health. The annual Kids Count survey rated Minnesota first overall, ahead of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Utah and Massachusetts. Minnesota jumped three places from last year’s fourth-place rating.

Minnesota was well below the national average in low birth-weight babies, infant mortality, teen births, drop-out rates, parental employment, school attendance, single-parent households and children living in poverty and was near the national average for child deaths and teen deaths.

While Minnesota compared favorably, not all statistics were rosy. The percentage of children living in poverty edged up to 12 percent, up from 11 percent in 2004. And the incidence of low birth-weight babies increased from 6.2 percent to 6.5 percent.

While Minnesota improved, the the overall national picture was mixed.

“KIDS COUNT contains some good and bad news,” says Laura Beavers, research associate at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in a statement. “While well-being indicators have largely gotten better for teens, they’ve gotten worse for babies. We also see persistent disparities in outcomes for children of color, particularly African-Americans.”

Iowa ranked seventh in the survey, North Dakota ranked eighth and Wisconsin ranked 12th. South Dakota ranked lowest by far of Minnesota’s neighbors, at 30th overall. The bottom five states in overall ranking were South Carolina, New Mexico, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private, non-profit organization that works for improvement in the welfare of disadvantaged children.