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These Are the Worst U.S. States for Children

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We just found out which American states take the worst care of their kids–and some of the statistics are really alarming, especially when it comes to the large percentage of kids going hungry or suffering serious neglect.

And the overall picture is grim. Did you know that as a country, we are in the top ten worst in the world for our rate of child poverty? Almost one in three kids here is below the poverty line. Why don’t we talk about this more, and why isn’t it a national shonde?

All this information is from WalletHub, which published an analysis titled “2017’s States with the Most Underprivileged Children,” and it’s definitely an eye-opener.

The site analyzed and compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia “across 21 key measures of neediness.” The data includes information regarding kids growing up poor, going hungry, or being mistreated.

While some states might not surprise you on the list, the top 20 represent many different areas of the country.

Here’s what they found:

via Wallet Hub

via Wallet Hub

So, what does all of this mean? According to their research, Mississippi has the highest child food-insecurity (aka lack of access to reliable food) rate at 26.3 percent–and it also has the most infant deaths per 1,000 live births at nine. New Hampshire, the state with the fewest infant deaths, has four, or less than half of Mississippi’s rate.

Mississippi also has the highest number of kids per household below poverty level in the past year at 31.8 percent, which is especially high in comparison to New Hampshire, the state with the lowest at 11.8 percent.

But Mississippi isn’t the only state missing the mark–Nevada has the highest number of uninsured children ages 0 to 17 at 13 percent. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has the highest number of children being maltreated at 2.22 percent, which they note is 16 times higher than in Pennsylvania, the state with the lowest.

According to this report, “the U.S., in fact, has the seventh highest rate of child poverty — over 29 percent — among economically developed countries. And by the end of the day, more than 1,800 cases of child abuse or neglect will have been confirmed, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.”

You can read the full report here. If you’re looking for some hope, Wallethub talked to policy experts, too–there are a lot of smart people trying to tackle these problems from many different angles. On our end, we’re going to try to keep raising awareness that kids across the country need a better standard of life.

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