Nevada’s sluggish recovery from the Great Recession left nearly a quarter of the state’s children in poverty in 2012, according to a new UNLV report assessing the health and well-being of Nevada’s youth.
The Nevada KIDS COUNT Data Book 2013, released today by the UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), reports that 23.4 percent of Nevada children were living in poverty in 2012, an 8.4 percent increase from the start of the recession in 2008. This rate is higher than the national average, which is at 23 percent.
“The increased number of children living in poverty signals to an uneven recovery that had not reached deeply into the population by 2012,” said Stephen Brown, an economist and director of the CBER. “We saw a broader based recovery in 2013, which hopefully will help reduce the number of children living in poverty.”
Seven indicators of child well-being are measured for the data book from 2010-2012: the state’s percentage of low-birth-weight babies, infant mortality rate, child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, percent of children in poverty and the percent of teens who are high school dropouts.
All measured areas improved except for the average percentage of children living in poverty.
The data book also includes a look at family and community factors, safety and risky behaviors such as child abuse and neglect, and juvenile crime.
Nevada KIDS COUNT measures the educational, social, economic and physical status of children in Nevada counties. The report is sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which also issues a national KIDS COUNT report. The national KIDS COUNT project is a state-by-state effort to track childhood well-being, increase public awareness and give policymakers and citizens the best available data to make decisions.
“Overall, the statistics point to the problems facing children in a state that has a relatively low educational attainment and a relatively narrow economic base,” Brown, executive director of Nevada KIDS COUNT, said. “States that have recovered more from the Great Recession have higher educational attainment and a broader economic base, and as a result their children have fared better.”
Also included in the report:
- Nevada’s high school dropout rate decreased from 4.1 percent in 2010-2011 to 3.9 percent in 2011-2012.
- The percent of low birth weight babies was 8.2 percent for 2009-2011, and 8.1 percent from 2010-2012.
- The child death rate decreased from 17.6 deaths per 100,000 children for 2009-2011 to 16.3 deaths for 2010-2012.
- The teen birthrate for 2010-2012 was 34.7 births per 1,000 females ages 15-19, down from 38.5 for 2009-2011.
UNLV is a doctoral-degree-granting institution of more than 27,000 students and 2,900 faculty and staff. Founded in 1957, the university offers more than 220 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs. UNLV is located on a 332-acre campus in dynamic Southern Nevada and is classified in the category of Research Universities (high research activity) by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.