If you look at the health metrics for children in Family and Community Trust’s (FACT) newly released 2018 Missouri KIDS COUNT Data Book, there’s a lot to feel good about. By a number of measures Missouri’s kids were better off in 2016 than they were four years earlier.This is excellent news, but it’s also important to understand the context. Our progress as a state cannot only be viewed with a wide lens. We have a responsibility to dig deeper to ensure that all groups – rich and poor, urban and rural, and of all ethnicities – are experiencing improvements in their well-being. Unfortunately, as you’ll see in the county-level data, disparities remain a substantial issue for our state.
According to FACT, the three takeaways from their report are as follows:
- “Missouri’s children’s lives have improved, with 9 of 10 statewide outcome indicators showing improvement in 2016 versus 2012.
- The gains for Missouri’s children aren’t always equally distributed. Where children live and the quality of resources in their local communities have an impact on their well-being. Children in Missouri’s most rural and most urban communities continue to face the greatest challenges.
- Missouri’s children of color, while improving consistently with white children, continue, as a sub-population, to face challenges grounded in exposure to persistent income inequality and low-resource neighborhoods and communities.”
We encourage you to dig into the KIDS COUNT Data Book for yourself, which includes a complete ranking of all 114 Missouri counties (and the City of St. Louis). It is full of useful information about all that we have to celebrate, and points us in the directions where our continued efforts are sorely needed.