NJ ranks in the top ten nationwide for child well-being; child poverty remains stagnant

Contact: Alana Vega | avega@acnj.org | 732-773-3745

New Jersey ranks in the top ten nationwide for child well-being; child poverty remains stagnant  
31st KIDS COUNT® Data Book provides comprehensive annual data on child well-being in the United States

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY — New Jersey ranks eighth overall in child well-being nationally according to the 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation — an annual look at how children are faring across the United States. The 2020 report contains data from 2018 and 2019, which do not take into account all the changes for children and families since the pandemic began. 

 “Though this year’s report does not reflect the current reality of the impact of COVID-19, the data provide a glimpse at the children and families who are likely most at-risk for the adverse health, economic and educational effects of the pandemic,” said Cecilia Zalkind, president and CEO of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, the KIDS COUNT® grantee for New Jersey. “It is our hope that policymakers will utilize this information to develop strategies to support children and families. It is important that policymakers protect and expand programs and policies that allow all children to grow up safe, healthy and educated.”

The annual KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being and family and community — as an assessment of child well-being. New Jersey ranks:

  • 22nd in economic well-being. In 2018, 36 percent of children lived in a household spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, contributing to New Jersey’s ranking in this domain. The child poverty rate, or the percentage of children living below the federal poverty level, was an estimated 14 percent according to the most recent data available, showing no change between 2010 and 2018.
  • First in education. New Jersey has remained at or near the top of this category for the last several years, with only 9 percent of students not graduating on time from high school, compared to 15 percent of students nationwide. 
  • 14th in the family and community domain. An estimated 8 percent of New Jersey’s children live in an area of concentrated poverty—or neighborhoods where more than 30 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level.  The Garden State also saw a dramatic decline in births to teens ages 15-17, dropping from 20 per 1,000 in 2010 to 10 per 1,000 teens in 2018.
  • 15th in health. Since 2010, New Jersey saw a 33 percent decline in the percentage of children without health insurance, with an uninsured rate of 4 percent for children. Yet there is room for improvement in other aspects of health, with 33 percent of New Jersey’s teens ages 10-17 who are overweight or obese. 

The 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book is the 31st edition of an annual data study that is based on U.S. Census and other publicly available data, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Due to changes in methodology, overall rankings and health domain rankings should not be compared to rankings from prior years.

Release Information 
The 2020 KIDS COUNT® Data Book may be accessed at aecf.org. Additional information is available at aecf.org/databook. Tools to create maps and graphs illustrating the data may be found at the KIDS COUNT Data Center (datacenter.kidscount.org).

About Advocates for Children of New Jersey
Advocates for Children of New Jersey is the trusted, independent voice putting children’s needs first for more than 40 years. Our work results in better laws and policies, more effective funding and stronger services for children and families. And it means that more children are given the chance to grow up safe, healthy and educated. For more information, visit www.acnj.org. Follow ACNJ on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/acnjforkids and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/acnjforkids

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation’s young people by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.


Advocates for Children of New Jersey | 35 Halsey Street Newark , New Jersey 07102

Questions? Email us at advocates@acnj.org or call us at  (973) 643-3876.

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