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By Dana Reilly
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island ranked 25th in the nation for the overall wellbeing of its children, according to the 23rd annual Kids Count data book released Wednesday.
Rhode Island mirrored many national trends in the latest state-by-state report, issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, many of them positive.
“Our teen birth rate is among the lowest in the nation and we are seeing improvements in reading and math proficiency,” Elizabeth Burke Bryant, executive director of R.I. Kids Count, said in prepared remarks.
“Many Rhode Island families continue to live in poverty, and struggle with high housing costs and a lack of jobs, a trend being seen nationwide as well,” added Bryant.
Last year, Rhode Island ranked 17th in the nation. The economic wellbeing of the state’s
children and families has declined as evidenced by the high percentage of children with unemployed parents, according to the report.
Rhode Island students also struggle to graduate from high school on time. Twenty-five percent of R.I. high school students dropped out during the 2008-2009 school year.
Though Rhode Island ranks right in the middle nationally, the state is worst among its New England neighbors.
New Hampshire was on top of the report, with Massachusetts and Vermont coming in second and third, respectively. Connecticut earned the number seven spot and Maine was ranked 13th.