Survey: Georgia Still Ranks Near The Bottom For Child Poverty

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Georgia made some strides over the last year in improving child and family well-being, but still ranked near the bottom when compared to other states, according to a new national survey released this week.

The state ranked 40th in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s annual Kids Count survey, jumping up two spots over last year. Despite the improved standing, the survey shows more than one in four children live in poverty, and one in three live with parents who lack secure employment.

Georgia Kids Count coordinator Rebecca Rice said those are big increases compared to pre-recession years, when the numbers were closer to one-in-five and one-in-four, respectively.

“It is to a degree somewhat natural as you’re coming off a recession, but it’s still something that we need to do better because if we are a state that’s really good for business, then we need to make sure that’s translating into reality for all of our residents,” Rice said.

The report looked primarily at 2013 data. Rice said there were bright spots in the numbers, namely that 2013 marked the first year since the recession when the state’s child poverty rate decreased.

“We are getting the sense that we’re starting to turn the corner,” Rice said. “So, hopefully, as we recover, more of those really stable jobs come back and we’ll see fewer people in those low-wage jobs that maybe don’t provide for families as well as they could.”

Rice said the state also saw some improvements in health and education, including a higher graduation rate and improved reading and math proficiency among fourth-graders. Still, two-thirds of fourth-graders failed to meet reading standards, while more than two-thirds didn’t meet math standards.

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Read the Georgia Family Connection Partnership release.

Georgia Family Connection is a statewide network with a Collaborative in all 159 counties.