Hoosier children continue to rank in the middle of the pack when it comes to overall wellbeing at 28th, the same as last year.
The 2018 Kids Count Data book compiles state information into a national look at how children are doing. Indiana’s youth still rank lower when it comes to health, 31st, and family and community, 32nd.
Indiana Youth Institute President and CEO Tami Silverman says the data points to a variety of factors that impact health measures.
"We know that we have issues there related to the opioid use disorder and infant mortality but I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the impact of childhood obesity as well as still tobacco use," says Silverman.
Indiana recorded increased rates of low birth-weight babies and child and teens deaths, but better rates of children with insurance. The state remains in the bottom third in the country when it comes to childhood obesity.
"That’s something that has these long term health consequences that we used to see only in adults, hyper-tensions, sleep apnea, heart conditions, diabetes," says Silverman.
Silverman says the report finds low unemployment rates but still show 20 percent of Indiana children live in poverty.
"What one of the conclusions is that a lot of families with kids for a variety of reasons, access to transportation, don’t have those types of jobs that can support a family with children," says Silverman.
A highlight of the data book is education, Indiana ranks 14th nationally.