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N.D. Child Well-being Needs Improvement

While North Dakota’s overall child poverty rate ranks well nationally, poverty continues to be an issue for many children in North Dakota.

According to the national KIDS COUNT program, North Dakota ranks 10th best in the nation on child well-being indicators. Areas in which North Dakota ranks well, according to the national KIDS COUNT program, include having the third lowest percentage of children in single-parent families, even though the percentage did increase since 2000, and the lowest percentage of children without secure parental employment (21 percent in 2009).

This month’s edition of the “Population Bulletin,” released from the North Dakota State Data Center at North Dakota State University, presents selected indicators from the “2011 North Dakota KIDS COUNT Fact Book” (

The 2011 edition marks the 17th year the publication has been produced by the North Dakota KIDS COUNT program. The program is part of a nationwide network funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to collect information about the status of children.

The “2011 North Dakota KIDS COUNT Fact Book” helps provide insight into where the greatest concerns are for children in North Dakota by using county level data and data aggregated for the eight planning regions in the state.

Of particular concern is Planning Region 3 (Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Ramsey, Rolette and Towner counties), which includes the Turtle Mountain and Spirit Lake Indian reservations. Children in this part of the state face many challenges, including the highest teen birth rate (by 6 percent) among the state’s eight planning regions.

Planning Region 3 also has the highest proportion of children living in single-parent families; the highest poverty rate (by 15 percent); lowest median family income; highest proportion of children receiving temporary assistance for needy families, free or reduced-price lunches, supplemental nutritional assistance program aid and child-care assistance; lowest ACT scores (barely one in 10 high school graduates are ready for college courses); highest high school dropout rate (tied with Region 1); highest proportion of mothers receiving inadequate prenatal care (by 8 percent); second highest rate of newborns who failed a hearing screening; and highest rate of teens who are not in school, not high school graduates and not in the labor force (twice the rate from a decade ago).

“An important contribution of the KIDS COUNT data is that it provides civic leaders and policy makers an objective tool to assess where the greatest needs are within the state,” says Richard Rathge, North Dakota KIDS COUNT policy analyst and State Data Center director. “These data provide a compelling case that Region 3 is one of those areas.”

While North Dakota’s overall child poverty rate ranks well nationally (fifth lowest in 2009), poverty continues to be an issue for many children in North Dakota. Native American Indian reservations were the most affected by high rates of child poverty.

For example, in Sioux County, which includes part of the Standing Rock Reservation, one in two children(53 percent) was impoverished in 2009. Eight counties in the state had poverty rates of more than 30 percent in 2009. Data included in the annual publication cover issues affecting children from birth through adolescence and offers a road map to understanding the challenges facing North Dakota’s children.

NDSU Agriculture Communication – Oct. 4, 2011

Source:Richard Rathge, (701) 231-8621,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
KIDS COUNT Statistics by County Preview
(1004 Population Bulletin.pdf - 872.17 Kb)
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