The 24th annual Indiana Youth Institute’s Kids Count Data Book was released Monday. The data tool measures the well-being of Hoosier children. This year’s data is broken up by race and ethnicity.
Indiana ranks 28th nationally, but near the bottom in several categories. Indiana Youth Institute President Tamil Silverman says this year’s data gives a clearer picture of which groups of Hoosier children face the greatest challenges.
“When you go ahead and disaggregate that data by race we find that there are even bigger challenges and gaps, particularly with African American children,” Silverman says.
The data ranks Indiana 41st nationally in infant mortality rates, and black infants are more than twice as likely to die than white infants before their first birthday. The data tracks related measurements like pregnancy smoking rates – 13.5 percent of Hoosier moms – and breastfeeding, which is on the rise.
Silverman says one area of concern in Indiana is the rise in acute neglect cases related to the opioid epidemic.
“It’s not so much intentional abuse but parents that, because of addiction, are not providing adequate food or supervision or access to health care or transportation to school,” Silverman says.
The data finds one in 10 Indiana children live with someone that has a substance use disorder.
Positive changes in Hoosier youth health measurements include an increase in health coverage and a decrease in teen pregnancy.