Study: D.C. children at the greatest educational, economic disadvantage

WASHINGTON — Children in the District are the most disadvantaged when it comes to education and economic well-being, and are among the very lowest in the United States when it comes to health, too, according to a new survey.

The study — assembled by WalletHub, a personal financial resource website — ranks states on a variety of metrics, including graduation and poverty rates, homelessness among families, infant mortality, health care coverage, foster care, and malnutrition.

D.C. came in dead last after all states in the categories of early foundations and economic well-being and education. It ranks 43 among the 51 states in health.

Other states rounding out the bottom five include Mississippi, Arizona, Georgia, and New Mexico.

“It’s another reminder to the District, given the many issues and problems we have here — particularly social problems — we really have to be better at how we’re delivering services,” said D.C. Council member Mary Cheh.

While acknowledging she didn’t have a true grasp of how the study was compiled, Cheh expressed dismay at D.C.’s poor ranking among the highest child food insecurity rate.

“In many schools we provide breakfast, lunch and dinner and we have summers school programs as well. How we could come up at the bottom at the child food insecurity rate? I’m deeply disappointed and surprised by that,” Cheh said.

Virginia children came in 10th overall, including seventh place in economic well-being and health, and 17th in education.

Maryland children came in 16th overall — 15th in economic well-being, 11th in health, 18th in education.

With D.C. trailing behind the rest of the DMV, Cheh says the message is clear.

“We really have to be better at how we’re delivering services and how we’re improving peoples lives,” Cheh says.

However, Cheh does have questions about the methodology behind comparing a city’s resources to that of states.

WalletHub.com’s Jill Gonzalez says the choice to include the District in the comparison was intentional.

“We organized our data to look at percentages, at a per 100,000 population. I don’t think it skews the results that way,” Gonzalez said.

The top performing state is New Hampshire, which came in 2nd in economic well-being, first in health and 9th in education.

New Jersey, Minnesota, Connecticut and North Dakota round out the top five.

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