For the nation's children, the state in which they're raised can be a big deal in their overall well-being. And when considering factors including poverty levels and graduation rates, Louisiana came in dead last for economic well-being while Mississippi ranks last for overall child well-being.
That's according to data compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private philanthropy based in Baltimore, which found 15.7 million, or 22 percent, of American children living in poverty in 2014, up from 13.2 million, or 18 percent, in 2008.
"Comparing data over the last six years reveals positive and negative developments in child well-being nationally," the foundation said in a news release. "Broadly speaking, children experienced gains in the education and health domains, but setbacks in the economic well-being and family and community domains."
In compiling its state rankings of how children are faring, the foundation looked at statistics covering economic well-being, education, health and family and community.
At 30 percent, New Mexico had the highest childhood poverty rate, while Mississippi, New Mexico and West Virginia had the highest rate of children living in families without secure parental employment, at 36 percent.
Alaska and Louisiana had the highest rate, at 11 percent, of teens not in school and not working in 2014. In 2015, New Mexico had the highest percentage of public school fourth-graders not proficient in reading, at 77 percent.
When it came to health-related factors, Mississippi had the highest percentage of low-birthweight babies in 2014, at 11.3 percent of live births, while Alaska and Texas had the highest percentage (11 percent) of children without health coverage. Mississippi had the highest mortality rates among children and teens in 2014, with a child and teen death rate of 39 per 100,000.
Louisiana and Mississippi had the highest rate (47 percent) of children living in single-parent families, while 27 percent of Mississippi's children lived in high-poverty areas.
Conversely, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire and Connecticut ranked at the top for childrens' well-being.