This Is the Worst Ranked State in the U.S. for Children to Live

A new report finds that this one state is the worst place to raise your kids.

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All parents want their kids to be happy and healthy. However, the likelihood of a good childhood can depend on where you live. That's why many families look to settle down in towns with highly rated school systems and programs for young ones. But, others are not so lucky. Humanitarian aid organization, Save the Children, ranked the best and worst regions for children to live, and found that this one state falls short on all fronts.

Based on hunger, school dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, and early death, the report concluded that Louisiana comes in last compared to the rest of the United States. The state has many factors going against it. For one, it has a 26.5 percent child poverty rate, the second highest in the country, and more than a third of the kids in 28 of Louisiana's 64 parishes are  living in poverty. Another 23 percent of children don't have access to healthy food and regular meals—the third worst hunger rate in America.

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Additionally, Louisiana has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the country and the 10th highest child homicide and suicide rates—not to mention the third highest teenage pregnancy rates. This all contributes to the state's massive childhood equity gap, meaning kids are more likely to be forced into adulthood at an earlier age or have to forgo what most people would consider a typical childhood existence altogether.

"This ranking is sadly not surprising to me," Laura Alderman, executive director of Step Forward in Shreveport, told the Shreveport Times. "Our first response is likely to feel defensive, yet rather than argue with it, we must face the harsh fact that many children are not thriving in northwest Louisiana. And those poor outcomes evolve into other costly negative social and health outcomes for them as adults, and for all of us as community neighbors.''

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Meanwhile, in a nearby state, Mississippi ranks 49th in the report, with a 28.2 percent child poverty rate—the worst in the country. A similar study, released in Dec. 2018 by SafeHome.org, found that Louisiana was the worst state to raise kids, followed by Mississippi, due to high levels of child abuse, poverty, homicides, and school shootings.

Even when looking at the at the country as a whole, the results are still troubling. Rural counties in the U.S. account for 92 percent of the lowest rankings, and most of them are poor, minority communities in the South.

"It is our youngest citizens that are in fact our greatest agents of economic prosperity," Alderman told the Shreveport Times. "Unless we recognize that, and invest our resources in them, we will continue to spend vast sums of tax dollars to fix problems that could have been prevented." And for more health and safety information about kids, check out the 7 Signs Your Child Could Have Coronavirus.

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