The study, released by Wallethub, ranks all 50 states and the District when it comes to economic factors impacting children, such as child poverty and foster care.
It found that D.C. has the fifth-highest percentage of underprivileged children in the country, behind only Alaska, Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada. “It really comes down to that socio-economic welfare category,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with Wallethub.
The study found that D.C. topped the list for the percentage of children in single-parent families (three times as high as Utah or North Dakota) and for homelessness among children and youths.
D.C. ranked sixth in the country in the percentage of children in households with incomes below the poverty line, and ninth for food insecurity ratings.
Welfare of Children in D.C. (1 = the most; 25 = average):
- 6th: Percentage of children in households with below-poverty income
- 17th: Percentage of maltreated children
- 9th: Child food-insecurity rate
- 13th: Infant mortality rate
- 18th: Percentage of children in foster care
- 1st: Percentage of children in single-parent families
- 1st: Child and youth homeless rate
“All of these things combine and really snowball into other things, [such as] health and education and the dropout rate in the District,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says providing access to more resources for families is critical.
Virginia ranked 42nd in the study overall; Maryland, 48th.
They were the top two states in terms of having the fewest children in foster care, and had among the lowest percentage of children in households below the poverty income level.
Both states also have higher graduation rates and more pre-kindergarten funding per preschool-aged resident in each state. “That’s really setting the stage for a low-income child for success,” said Gonzalez.