Michigan ranks 32nd nationally in child well-being according to the national 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, released today by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Michigan’s overall ranking remains the same as last year in the annually published Data Book that tracks child well-being nationally and state by state.
The report is based on data in 16 key indicators in four categories—Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community—and ranks the states by how well they are doing by their children. Michigan’s best national rank in the four categories was 22nd in Health, and its lowest national rank is 40th in Education. The state ranks 30th in both Economic Well-Being and Family and Community. All of Michigan’s rankings were the same or worse than the 2019 Data Book rankings, although because of one health indicator in the index changed, direct year-to-year comparisons of the health or overall rankings are discouraged.
“If Michigan wants to be a state that stands out as a quality place to grow up, policymakers have to address this data and our middling national rankings and make some important changes,” said Kelsey Perdue, Kids Count in Michigan Project Director at the Michigan League for Public Policy. “But beyond the data in this report, Michigan leaders need to also heed what’s happening in our state and around the country right now. Our state budget is facing a significant deficit and drastic cuts. Kids are nervous about going back to school while the danger of COVID looms. And Black children and their families continue to feel real pain and fear about the threats of racism, intimidation and violence.”
While Michigan’s rankings didn’t improve, the data in many indicators still did. The 2020 Data Book shows Michigan improved on 11 indicators in the KIDS COUNT Index; two indicators stayed the same and three worsened. These changes primarily followed the national trends. This explains the ranking plateaus or declines despite many data improvements, so Michigan has made some noteworthy progress—the state just hasn’t caught up with our peers.
Among the states, Massachusetts ranked first, New Hampshire second and Minnesota third for child well-being. Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico were 48th, 49th and 50th respectively.
The KIDS COUNT® Data Book is based on the latest available data for 16 key indicators. For the 2020 report, those data are 2018, so they do not reflect current conditions amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The Casey Foundation plans to explore the effects of the pandemic on child well-being in a future report but is releasing the annual Data Book as usual to ensure legislators and other elected officials, policymakers, researchers and advocates for children have the information they are customarily able to access at this time of year.
“Working to keep kids healthy and safe has never been more essential,” said Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Casey Foundation. “Having consistent, reliable data to guide our decisions will be critical as we continue seeking to ensure the well-being of children, families and communities throughout this challenging time and beyond.”
The 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book and Michigan profile may be accessed here. Additional information is available at aecf.org/databook. Tools to create maps and graphs illustrating the data may be found at the KIDS COUNT Data Center (datacenter.kidscount.org).