ASk A Researcher

August 2014

North Dakota Ranks Well Nationally with Regard to Overall Child Well-Being; However, Substantial Opportunities for Improvement Exist

Karen Olson, program director for North Dakota KIDS COUNT offers some insight into the latest resource available from KIDS COUNT, the 2014 Data Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Dakota’s overall child well-being ranks sixth in the nation according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 25th edition of the KIDS COUNT Data Book, an annual assessment of children’s well-being in the United States.  The Data Book provides a portrait of how U.S. children are doing in four key areas of well-being: Economic Well-Being, Family and Community, Education, and Health. States are ranked on 16 indicators of child well-being, four for each key area, that reflect current research regarding the conditions needed for proper child development.

North Dakota experienced improvements in all four areas of child well-being – and ranked no. 1 with regard to the economic well-being of children.  This is not too surprising given that North Dakota continues to lead the nation in growth of GDP and per capita income and continues to have the nation’s lowest unemployment rate.  Yet, despite these positive measures, many North Dakota children face challenges.  For example, North Dakota’s child poverty rate was the lowest among all 50 states in 2012 and has not changed in 12 years, since the year 2000.  Currently, 13 percent or 20,000 children live in conditions where their families are unable to afford the basic necessities - and this percentage increases to 50 percent for American Indian children and 40 percent for children living with a single parent.  Our current prosperity provides us with a unique opportunity to make investments in the lives of our children to ensure they get the best possible start in life.

Graphic

The Data Book also helps to identify opportunities for investment - for addressing those challenges.  Research suggests that investment is most critical in the early years, birth through age eight, to support families and help young people succeed.  Yet, North Dakota has the 5th worst ranking with regard to preschool enrollment among states. High-quality early learning programs for 3- and 4-year-olds can improve school readiness, with the greatest gains accruing to the highest-risk children. Yet, two-thirds of 3- and 4-year-olds in North Dakota do not attend nursery school or preschool.  For North Dakota to improve its ranking from 45th to 1st in the nation, it would require enrolling an additional 5,000 children in preschool. 

Spending on education and training has the greatest impact early in life. The theory, rooted in well-established science of brain development, is that the first few years of life play a critical role in shaping future emotional, cognitive, and intellectual skills. Children who get consistent, nurturing care are more likely to succeed in school, avoid trouble with the law, and have productive lives in the workforce. According to the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, for every dollar invested in early childhood programs, there is a $4-$9 return on the investment.  An investment in our young children is an investment in the future economy and workforce of our state.  The more we know about our children, the better equipped we are to make smart investments in our future.
Other highlights from the 2014 KIDS COUNT Data Book include:

Economic Well-Being (1st in the nation)

  • Strengths: North Dakota continues to rank 1st in the nation with regard to the economic well-being of children.  North Dakota has the smallest percentage of children without secure parental employment (19%), the lowest percentage of children in families with a high housing cost burden (16%), the lowest child poverty percentage (13%), and the third lowest rate of idle teens (5%).  Three of these four economic well-being measures showed improvement since 2005.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: Despite these economic strengths, the percentage of children living in poverty has shown no change over the past seven years - this amidst an economic boom in the state. Currently, about 20,000 North Dakota children are impoverished (i.e., 13%). 

Family and Community (4th in the nation)

  • Strengths: When compared with other states, children in North Dakota fare well in terms of family and community indicators. North Dakota has the lowest percentage of children living in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma (5%) and the third lowest percentage of children living in single-parent families (28%). In addition, North Dakota saw improvement in the teen birth rate, from 35 births per 1,000 teenage girls in 1990 to 26 per 1,000 in 2012.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: The proportion of North Dakota children who live with a single parent has nearly doubled since 1990.  Approximately one in four North Dakota children now live with a single parent (28% in 2012, up from 23% in 2005 and 15% in 1990), and these children are about six times more likely to be living in poverty than children living with married parents.

Education (19th in the nation)

  • Strengths: Three of the four education indicators showed improvement since 2005: children not attending preschool, eighth graders not proficient in math, and high school students not graduating on time. North Dakota has the fourth lowest percentage of high school students in the nation not graduating on time (9%).
  • Challenges and Opportunities: Despite these improvements, two in three fourth graders are not proficient in reading – a proportion that has shown very little change over time.  North Dakota also has the fifth worst ranking with regard to preschool enrollment. High-quality early learning programs for 3- and 4-year-olds can improve school readiness, with the greatest gains accruing to the highest-risk children. Yet, two-thirds of 3- and 4-year-olds in North Dakota do not attend nursery school or preschool.  

Health (23rd in the nation)

  • Strengths: All four health indicators showed improvement since the mid-2000s: the child and teen death rate, children without health insurance, low birth weight babies, and teens who abuse alcohol or drugs. 
  • Challenges and Opportunities: Though showing some improvement, the child death rate in North Dakota ranks 41st in the nation.  With regard to uninsured children, North Dakota dropped in ranking from 19th last year to 30th in this year’s analysis.  Although not tracked by the KIDS COUNT Data Book, one growing health problem is childhood weight status.  Among North Dakota youth ages 10 to 17, approximately one-third is reported to be overweight or obese (35.8 percent).

Ask a researcher archive

Mariel Lopez-Valentin and Grace Njau. North Dakota Title X, Family Planning Needs Assessment
January 2022

Nancy Hodur and Dean Bangsund. North Dakota Lignite Energy Industry Workforce
December 2021

Ina Cernusca. Vaccine Acceptance and Hesitancy in North Dakota
October 2021

Nancy Hodur and Karen Olson. Rural Communities Will Benefit from a New Cooperative in Walsh County
September 2021

Matt Schmidt and Grace Njau. COVID-19 Trends Among North Dakota Children, March 2020 – March 2021
August 2021

Kendra Erickson-Dockter and Ina Cernusca. COVID Hardship on North Dakota Households: New study on the impacts on North Dakota households that lost employment income during the pandemic
July 2021

Chelsey Hukriede and Kendra Erickson-Dockter. NEW! PRAMS Points – A Brief Infographic using North Dakota PRAMS Survey Data
May 2021

North Dakota Compass: A look inside the 2021 Compass Points
April 2021

Ina Cernusca: Households with children are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
March 2021

Ina Cernusca: Differences in COVID-19 Risk Factors at District Level
February 2021

Kendra Erickson-Dockter, Chelsey Hukriede, and Grace Njau: An Introduction to the North Dakota Study of Associated Risks of Stillbirth (SOARS)
October 2020

Karen Ehrens: North Dakota Families are Facing Food and Other Hardships in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic, and Helpers Respond
September 2020

Ina Cernusca: Taking the pulse of North Dakota households during the COVID-19 pandemic.
July 2020

Nancy Hodur:Challenges of Grocery Stores in Rural North Dakota
May 2020

North Dakota Compass:2020 Compass Points: Measuring progress. Inspiring action.
March 2020

Amy Tichy:Student Veterans in the College Classroom.
February 2020

North Dakota Compass:North Dakota Compass launches the 2020 State Legislative District Profiles
January 2020

Grace Njau, Nancy Hodur:&Chelsey Hukriede: Risk Behaviors among Women with a Recent Live Birth in North Dakota: Findings from the 2017 North Dakota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)
November 2019

Ina Cernusca:& Karen Olson: Behind the scenes – The story of the North Dakota State Legislative District Profiles
October 2019

Ina Cernusca: Key demographic trends in North Dakota.
August 2019

Karen Olson: The 30th edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT® Data Book finds that 175,772 children will shape the future of a more diverse North Dakota.
July 2019

Shweta Arpit Srivastava & Dr. Ann Burnett: “Giving rope and pulling it back”: Parental dilemmas to prevent adolescent substance use
June 2019

Ina Cernusca: 2019 Compass Points: Setting direction for improving the quality of life in North Dakota
May 2019

Joshua Marineau and Onnolee Nordstrom: Learning from Fargo -- An Exploration of the Fargo-Moorhead Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
March 2019

Nancy Hodur: Improving Oral Health for Older Adults in North Dakota
November 2018

Rachelle Vettern: Engaging Volunteers across Generations
October 2018

Karen Olson: The 2018 KIDS COUNT® Data Book reveals strengths and challenges for children in North Dakota – and emphasizes that an inaccurate census in 2020 threatens to worsen existing challenges for North Dakota youth
July 2018

Lori Capouch: Is food access a concern in rural North Dakota?
May 2018

Deb Nelson: Williston Basin 2016: Employment, Population, and Housing Forecasts – An Overview
January 2018

Karen Olson: North Dakota among Top 10 States in Country for Child Well-Being
July 2017

Nancy Hodur: SEAL!North Dakota: A School Dental Sealant Program
June 2017

Grace Njau: A Brief Introduction to the North Dakota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)
April 2017

Ina Cernusca: North Dakota’s Women study: A brief overview
March 2017

Dean Bangsund: Effects of Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion on Spring Planting for Producers
February 2017

Deb Nelson: Vision West: Leading, Educating, and Collaborating to Mobilize the 19 Western North Dakota Counties Towards Resilience and Prosperity
December 2016

Nancy Hodur: North Dakota Statewide Housing Needs Assessment: A Brief Overview of the Population and Housing Forecast component
November 2016

Social Isolation: Experiential Narratives of African Refugee Women in the Fargo-Moorhead Community
September 2016

Sean Brotherson: Father Involvement and the Future of Children and Families
July 2016

Carol Cwiak: Bakken Oil: What Have We Learned and What Will We Do Differently Next Time
June 2016

Jessica Creuzer: The Changing Face of Western North Dakota: What are the Effects of Increased Travel from Energy Development
April 2016

ND Compass: City Profiles
February 2016

ND Department of Health: Making Change Happen
January 2016

Jennifer Weber: A Bold New Direction for the North Dakota University System - The NDUS Edge Dashboards
December 2015

Wendy Troop-Gordon: What Has Science Taught Us About Bullying?
November 2015

ND Compass: A Look at the Youngest North Dakotans
October 2015

Kendra Erickson-Dockter: Growing Older in North Dakota
September 2015

Michael Ziesch: Data You Can Trust: The Labor Market Information Center
August 2015

Malini Srivastava and Troy Raisanen: efargo: City Scale Sustainability
July 2015

Kevin Iverson: The State Repository of Census Information- The North Dakota Census
June 2015

Wonwoo Byun: Reducing Sedentary Behavior is a Key for Obesity Prevention in Children
May 2015

Kathryn Gordon: The Science of Suicide Prevention
April 2015

ND Compass: Tell a Story with Data! The Importance of Crade-to-Career Success
March 2015

Abby Gold: Community Food Systems: Food Charters and More
February 2015

Heather Fuller-Iglesias: The Importance of Recognizing the Role of Social Support in Human Development Across the Lifespan
January 2015

Michael Carbone: Using Data to End Homelessness
December 2014

Randal Coon: Tribal Colleges Contribute to the State's Economy
November 2014

Deb White: Women's Representation in Elected Office
October 2014

Randal Coon: Pull Factors Measure Retail Trade Performance
September 2014

Karen Olson: North Dakota ranks Well Nationally with Regard to Overall Child Well-Being; However, Substantial Opportunities for Improvement Exist
August 2014

Julie Garden-Robinson: Guard Against Grilling Gaffes: Healthy Grilling and Food Safety Tips
July 2014

Michael Noone: Extreme Weather Patterns- North Dakota Has It All
June 2014

Kathleen Tweeten: Why All Community Development Decisions Should Use the Community Capitals Framework
May 2014

Clayton Hilmert: Stress effects on pregnancy: The impact of the 2009 Red River flood on birth weight
April 2014

Karen Ehrens: Food Deserts and how they impact North Dakota
March 2014

Gretchen Dobervich and Kendra Erickson-Dockter: New Geographic Profiles: How they can work for you
February 2014

Compass Staff: "New Compass Team Brings Changes in 2014"
January 2014

Donna Grandbois: "Fargo-Moorhead American Indian Community-Sponsored Health Needs Assessment"
November 2013

Karen Olson: "North Dakota KIDS COUNT - why it counts for you
October 2013

Nancy Hodur: "Western North Dakota School Administrators Face Challenges"
August 2013

Megan Chmielewski: "Annual population estimates tell interesting stories about North Dakota's growth patterns"
July 2013

Ramona Danielson: "Learn how to make the ND Compass website work for you"
May 2013

Karen Olson: "About the American Community Survey (ACS)"
February 2013

North Dakota Compass

Center for Social Research
North Dakota State University

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

© 2022. All rights reserved.