The annual Montana Kids Count report, released on Tuesday, shows that the well-being of Montana’s children ranks 26th nationally.
The report takes into account all of Montana’s kids under the age of 18. Half of them are ages 5 to 13, and 22 percent are ages 14 to 17.
Overall, Montana sits in the middle considering all four of the analyzed domains, including health, family and community, economic well being and education.
One domain area is dragging the state’s average down, putting Montana at 47th.
Montana Kids Count Director Thale Dillon works out of the University of Montana on this report and on advocacy stemming from the information.
“We have a history of ranking extremely low in the health domain,” Dillon said. “The health domain is based on low birth weight, health insurance coverage, child and teen death rates, and alcohol and substance abuse by youth.”
Montana takes the 50th spot in one health domain sub-category. That is, the number of child and teen deaths per-100,000.
“We have gone in and out of the very bottom most spot for years, and this year, we are back on the bottom,” Dillon said.
Dillon says this is largely attributed to high rates of suicide due to firearms, and traffic crashes.
Other data shows that Montana is ranking high in the three other domains. 14 in family and community, 17 in education, and 18 in economic well-being.
Examining the national data from the past five years in a general sense, the Kids Count report says children across the country experienced improvements in Economic well-being and health, but the status of children’s education, and family and community, declined.
The report is funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.