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OCTOBER 2012: FALL ISSUE      Issue in PDF Issue in PDFRSS RSSPrint Print     

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EBR's Economic Forecasts

Arizona's Economic Indicators

  • Arizona & Metro Areas

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How KIDS COUNT in Arizona, 2012

ArizonaValorie Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information


According to 2010 Census data, 25.5 percent of Arizona’s population is comprised of those under the age of 18. This places Arizona among the youngest states in the nation, making the report summarized below all the more important.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has tracked the well-being of children in the United States by publishing the KIDS COUNT Data Book since 1990. The 2012 report was released in late July. This year the index expanded from the list of 10 indicators used in previous reports to 16 indicators divided into four main categories –Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. This change provides for a better overall measure of child well-being in each state. The correlation between state rankings in this year’s index and the previous year are quite high, though there are a few states, Arizona among them that did see a drop in their rankings because of the greater emphasis on measures for education and family and community factors.

The state with the best overall rank was New Hampshire. New Hampshire has consistently been the highest ranked state, and this extends to the new format as well. In fact, Northeastern states rank highly on childhood well-being as a group, while Southern states measure among the lowest. The four categories of the index each have a different state positioned at the top: Economic Well-Being – North Dakota, Education – Massachusetts, Health – Vermont, and Family and Community – New Hampshire. New Hampshire and Minnesota are the only states to rank among the top ten in all four areas.

In every category but one, Arizona is among the bottom five states. The overall ranking for Arizona is 46; the states ranking lower are Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Mississippi. Arizona is 46th in Economic Well-Being and for each of the four measures in that category the state scores worse than the national average, and has not experienced improvement over the last several years. The state ranks 46th in Education as well, and though Arizona has shown progress in educational measures, it still lags behind the nation as a whole. The Family and Community category also places Arizona 46th. Though the state shows improvement over time in two of the four measures here, it is again below national averages. Health was the only category in which Arizona ranks above the bottom tier, showing up at 36th among all states. As in Education, Arizona has made strides in most of the health indicators over time. The only measure in the Health category in which Arizona lost ground is the number of low birthweight babies, and ironically it is the only indicator out of all 16 in which our state does better than the nation as a whole.

Table 1 compares Arizona measure by measure with the U.S. overall, while Table 2 shows how all 50 states rank overall and by category.

Table 1

KIDS COUNT Indicators Categories Arizona  U.S.
Economic Well-Being
Percent of children in poverty 24% 22%
Percent of children whose parents lack secure employment (no full-time, year-round work) 35% 33%
Percent of children living in households with high housing cost burden 43% 41%
Percent of teens not in school and not working (ages 16-19) 12% 9%
Education
Percent of children not in preschool (ages 3 to 4) 68% 53%
Percent of 4th graders not proficient in reading 74% 68%
Percent of 4th graders not proficient in math 69% 66%
Percent of high school students not graduating on time 27% 24%
Health
Percent of low-birthweight babies 7.1% 8.2%
Percent of children without health insurance 13% 8%
Child and teen deaths per 100,000 (ages 1 to 19) 30 27
Percent of teens who abuse alcohol (ages 12 to 17) 8% 7%
Family and Community
Percent of children living in single-parent families 37% 34%
Percent of children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma 19% 15%
Percent of children living in high-poverty areas 16% 11%
Teen births per 1,000 (ages 15 to 19) 51 39
Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012 State Profiles of Child Well-Being
http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/bystate/StateLanding.aspx?state=AZ

Table 2

State Overall Rank Economic Well-Being Rank Education Rank Health Rank Family and Community Rank
New Hampshire 1 6 4 10 1
Massachusetts 2 11 1 2 10
Vermont 3 12 3 1 2
New Jersey 4 19 2 5 9
Minnesota 5 7 7 7 5
North Dakota 6 1 16 27 4
Connecticut 7 10 5 6 12
Iowa 8 3 14 9 8
Nebraska 9 2 15 12 15
Maryland 10 14 6 11 19
Utah 11 13 27 13 3
Virginia 12 9 11 17 16
Maine 13 18 23 3 7
Pennsylvania 14 17 8 8 23
Wisconsin 15 15 10 18 18
Kansas 16 8 12 32 24
South Dakota 17 4 21 43 21
Washington 18 28 26 4 17
Wyoming 19 5 29 47 6
Idaho 20 26 30 28 11
Illinois 21 27 17 14 28
Colorado 22 16 9 45 25
Delaware 23 23 22 29 26
Hawaii 24 31 31 21 14
Rhode Island 25 25 20 19 30
Missouri 26 21 24 33 27
Ohio 27 30 18 24 32
Montana 28 20 13 50 13
New York 29 32 19 15 34
Alaska 30 22 41 35 20
Indiana 31 24 36 34 31
Michigan 32 36 33 22 29
Oregon 33 41 37 20 22
North Carolina 34 35 25 26 36
Kentucky 35 37 28 25 38
Tennessee 36 38 42 16 39
Georgia 37 43 38 30 37
Florida 38 44 35 38 35
West Virginia 39 40 47 31 33
Oklahoma 40 29 39 44 40
California 41 45 43 23 42
Arkansas 42 39 34 37 45
South Carolina 43 34 40 40 43
Texas 44 33 32 42 47
Alabama 45 42 44 41 44
Arizona 46 46 46 36 46
Louisiana 47 47 45 39 48
Nevada 48 49 50 46 41
New Mexico 49 48 49 49 49
Mississippi 50 50 48 48 50
Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book