The 10 best and worst states for childhood

U.S. childhood index rankings


Save the Children’s Stolen Childhoods report, a state-by-state ranking, reveals children in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont are far more likely to experience safe, secure and healthy childhoods than children in Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

The ranking is drawn from Save the Children’s first annual End of Childhood Report, which examines “childhood enders” – events and factors that rob children of their childhoods, such as child marriage, infant mortality, extreme violence and displacement by war or conflict.

Each state’s position was determined by averaging its ranking for the five childhood enders considered in their review.

Among the findings:

  • Since 2014, Save the Children Action Network has been on the ground in New Hampshire, which ranks first among the states where childhood is least threatened. Our advocates have canvassed, written, and spoken to their legislators about the critical importance of expanded access to early childhood education throughout the state.
  • Mississippi and Delaware reported the nation’s highest infant mortality rates in 2015: 9.3 and 9.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively – more than twice the infant death rate in eight states, and well above the national average of 5.9.
  • Nationwide, 16.8 percent of high school students failed to graduate on time in the 2014-15 school year. Iowa had the lowest percentage of students not graduating, with a rate of 9.2 percent, closely followed by New Jersey at 10.3 percent. The states with the highest percentage of students failing to graduate were New Mexico (31.4 percent), Nevada (28.7 percent) and Oregon (26.2 percent).
  • Arkansas reported the highest teen birth rate in 2015 at 38 teen births per 1,000 females aged 15 to 19 – a rate nearly twice the national average of 22. Five states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and New Jersey, reported 12 or fewer births per 1,000 girls.

How can we help reverse these trends in the U.S.? One way is to expand access to high-quality early education. Kids who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs are less likely to drop out of school, become a teen parent and be arrested for violent crime.

Launched to coincide with International Children’s Day (June 1), the End of Childhood Report aims to raise critical awareness about the state of childhood worldwide and here in the United States.

More than 700 million children – or 1 in 4 kids around the world – have been robbed of their right to childhood. Millions of children have their childhoods cut short because of who they are and where they live.

All kids deserve a childhood – no matter where they live or their background.

Urge Congress not to cut programs that help kids everywhere get the childhood they deserve