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Oklahoma drops three spots in state rankings for overall child well-being

Oklahoma now ranks 39th in the annual Kids Count Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The state ranked 40th and 43rd the previous years.

"Demographic, social and economic changes combined with major policy developments have affected the lives of lower-income children in both positive and negative ways since 1990," the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 25th edition of its annual Kids Count Data Book says.

The good news is that there has been steady improvement in the number of children attending preschool and a decline in the number of schoolchildren not proficient in reading and math.

More children also have access to health insurance coverage than before the recession.

The teen birth rate is the lowest it has been in many years and the death rate for children and teens has fallen as a result of medical advances and increased usage of seat belts, car seats and bike helmets. There was also a drop in the percent of children who were living in a home where the household head lacked a high school diploma from 22 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2012.

Although the child poverty rate has dropped from 18 to 16 percent from 1990 to 2000, the rate had reached 22 percent by 2010 and has remained at roughly that level. Just two years ago nearly 16.4 million kids were living in poverty.

The percentage of children living in single-parent families has risen. In 1990, 25 percent of children lived in a single-parent household and by 2012 the figure had risen 10 percent to 35 percent. Since 1990, the rate of children growing up in poor communities has also increased, with 13 percent of children living in a neighborhood where the poverty rate is 30 percent or more.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book is an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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