Global nonprofit group Save the Children has published a list of the best and worst-performing states for the nation’s children during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey, which pulled data from the U.S. census, looked at a number of factors impacting the health and wellness of children under the age of 13 including food availability, access to online schooling, employment status of the children’s parents, the ability of a family to pay for basic household expenses and more.
“Louisiana — where 1 in 4 families lack sufficient food, more than anywhere else in the country — placed as the ‘worst’ state for children during the pandemic,” reported Bracey Harris of NBC News. “It was followed by Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico and Alabama. Minnesota and Utah were the states where children fared the best, with Washington, New Hampshire and North Dakota rounding out the top five.”
“Kids and families are suffering all across this country, but there are some communities, and some states, better equipped to navigate through it,” Shane Garver, senior director of rural education for Save the Children, told Harris in an interview.
The disparities in childcare unearthed by the Save the Children research weren’t just limited to geographic regions.
“Forty-one percent of parents making less than $25,000 per year reported not having enough to eat,” Harris wrote. “The report [also] found that children of color were particularly vulnerable to hunger. Nearly 30% of Black households and 1 in 4 Hispanic families said they sometimes or often didn’t have enough food to eat, according to the report. That’s nearly twice the figure for white families.”
The survey also revealed that “tens of thousands” of children have not stepped inside of a classroom for in-person instruction since April 2020 and Black and Hispanic students were still more likely to be learning remotely despite a lack of technological resources to facilitate the process. In the worst scoring state, only 25% of Louisiana families said they had all the equipment needed to help their children regularly log on to online classrooms.