The indicators for Nebraska show education and health scores are up, but trends in child poverty scores are causing concern. In the state, 18 percent of children live in poverty. That number is up from 15 percent in 2005. In addition, the number of children living in high-poverty areas increased to 7 percent, more than doubling since 2000.
Carolyn Rooker, executive director of Voices for Children in Nebraska, said the new report shows the need for heightened attention to the issue of child poverty and the need to address what our state and communities can do to reduce the numbers.
"Our Nebraska economy is strong and parents are working hard, but the upward trend in child poverty numbers is very troubling," Rooker said. "They indicate that working families are not able to earn enough to meet all of their children's basic needs without assistance. As the Kids Count report shows, the effects of economic insecurity can have enormous consequences for our children."
While the child poverty numbers are causing concern, the report also lists improvement in other areas. It shows better indicators for child well-being in the areas of education and health. Nebraska has seen a reduction in the number of children not attending preschool, the number of fourth graders not proficient in reading, the number of eighth graders not proficient in math and the number of high school students not graduating on time. Additionally, Nebraska saw improvements in the number of low-birth weight babies, the number of children without health insurance, the number of child and teen deaths per 100,000 and the number of teens who abuse alcohol or drugs.