SC rises in Kids Count ranking — to No. 42

This just in today from Children’s Trust of SC:

South Carolina Improves in Annual KIDS COUNT Rankings of Child Well-Being
Despite Jump, Persistent Poverty Remains Barrier to Child and Family Success

(Columbia, S.C.) – South Carolina was one of five states to show improvement in the annual KIDS COUNT® Data Bookranking, moving from 45 to 42 in the nation for child well-being. South Carolina has not achieved a ranking higher than 42 since the beginning of the KIDS COUNT project in 1990. The Data Book and South Carolina state profile are available.childrens trust

This year, improvements in child health, including the reduction in child and teen deaths and increased access to health insurance, contributed to the improved ranking.

Children’s Trust Chief Executive Officer Sue Williams says, “We hope this is the beginning of sustained improvement for children. Investments in maternal health, access to health care and substance abuse prevention are paying off.”

Despite improvements, the sustained well-being of children and families in South Carolina is fragile, especially when it comes to economy and education. Since 2008, there are more children living in poverty, in single-parent families and in homes where a disproportionate amount of family income is spent simply keeping a roof over their heads. Economic pressures, such as low-wage jobs and lack of secure employment, are significant obstacles for opportunity and upward mobility.

South Carolina has experienced mixed results in educational outcomes. While South Carolina has made recent advances in the Read to Succeed Act, it will be several years of sustained investment before the impacts are seen within this data.

“Education is critically important for future success and family stability,” Williams said. “With education, families have more opportunity to succeed and contribute to reducing the stressors that can lead to child abuse and neglect. We applaud and encourage the continued discussion around children’s access to affordable, high quality early care and education.”

South Carolina’s children continue to struggle in key areas of education and economic well-being. For example:

  • 59 percent are not attending preschool;
  • 72 percent of fourth graders are not proficient in reading;
  • 69 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in math; and
  • 27 percent of children live in poverty.

For children of color, the numbers are even more disparate. Only 13 percent of African-American children are reading proficiently by fourth grade and have math proficiency by eighth grade.

Children’s Trust is the KIDS COUNT grantee for South Carolina. The KIDS COUNT Data Book features the latest data on child well-being for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. This information is available in the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of measures of child well-being. Data Center users can create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and view real-time information on mobile devices.

The KIDS COUNT Data Book and South Carolina state profile is available on the Casey Foundation website at and on the Children’s Trust website

6 thoughts on “SC rises in Kids Count ranking — to No. 42

  1. Doug Ross

    “For children of color, the numbers are even more disparate. Only 13 percent of African-American children are reading proficiently by fourth grade and have math proficiency by eighth grade.”

    Well, then what in the world did all the PACT/PASS testing of the past two decades accomplish? NOTHING. What have all the new teaching methods, smaller class sizes, consulting fees paid to educrats accomplidh? NOTHING. What has the excessive spending on technology accomplished? NOTHING.

    Teacher-Student-Parent. That’s all that matters in education.

    1. Mark Stewart

      Doug, I think you have it wrong.
      Parent – Student – Teacher. That’s the order.

      General comment: This is sort of a silly survey as there is no way that the results are going to stack up differently than the nationally ranking of GDP by state. We don’t need 147 surveys telling South Carolina that it ranks somewhere between 42-47 in all comparative measures (or 3rd to 8th as appropriate for the scale). That said, all is not lost; states do over time improve with much consistent, hard work – and also usually with significant immigration chasing perceived opportunity.

      South Carolina could stand to put itself to hard, sustained work. The will to achieve is the magic spark.

  2. Doug Ross

    One of the problems with people who are data illiterate is the belief that ranking states using a number of different variables proves that one state is “better” than another. So what if the ranking is 42? What does that actually mean? Does anyone seriously think that means there has been improvement? What if the other states just dropped more? And what if the gap between 42 and 45 is minuscule but the gap between 42 and 35 is large? The number of variables that cannot be controlled (demographics, income, education level of parents) combined with the likely disparate methods used to collect/report the data makes it meaningless.

    These rankings serve no purpose but for public relations fodder.

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