New data shows deteriorating mental health and educational trends among children in Idaho

New nationwide data show Idaho counts among the best in the country on economic well-being, family and community factors, but also shows increasing rates of anxiety and depression among children and low educational scores.

That 2022 children count The data is released annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to measure the health and well-being of children and families in all 50 states. The ranking is compiled largely from data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the US Department of Education.

The partner for Kids Count in Idaho is Idaho Voices for Children. Director Christine Tiddens said the databook would normally be released in early June, but that Delay in the 2020 census also delayed the release of the data book.

The Kids Count report includes 16 indicators in four categories: Economic Wellbeing, Education, Health and Community. Of the 16, 11 of Idaho’s indicators have improved since 2020.

“My interpretation of this is that our advocacy is working,” Tiddens said. “It also shows that Idaho has weathered COVID and the recession fairly well, especially compared to other states.”

Idaho ranks 14th nationally for economic well-being, with 14% of Idaho children living in households with income below the poverty line — up from 26% in 2008. The state ranked ninth for family and community factors with 24% children living in single-parent households, compared to 34% nationwide and just 2% of children living in high-poverty areas. In 2008, 5% of Idaho children lived in high poverty areas, compared to 9% of children domestically.

The number of children living in households with a caregiver who has not completed school has also fallen from 12% in 2008 to 9% in 2020, and Idaho’s teenage birth rate is less than half what it was in Year 2010, falling from 33% to 15%.


Data: Nearly 13% of Latino high school students in Idaho attempted suicide in 2019

According to Tiddens, one of the most concerning aspects of the report is the data on children’s mental health, given that the national number of children suffering from anxiety or depression increased by 26% between 2016 and 2020, ranging from ages 3 to 17 in 2020 anxiety or depression, up 11.4% in 2016. According to the report, nearly 10% of Idaho high school students and 13% of Latino high school students attempted suicide in 2019.

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy presented one Counseling on the subject of adolescent psychiatry in December 2021 and said the COVID pandemic has accelerated and exacerbated existing mental health struggles for children whose everyday lives have been upended by school closures and social isolation.

Tiddens said Idaho’s young people were similarly affected.

“Idaho youth have struggled with mental health for years. The rising number of children in our state who are suffering from anxiety and depression should be a red flag for those responsible to take action on this important issue,” Tiddens said.

Idaho Voices for Children’s policy recommendations to address these numbers are to provide financial stability for children growing up in poverty, ensure access to child mental health care, and strengthen mental health care resources for children of all experiences and identities . According to Idaho Voices for Children, children growing up in poverty are two to three times more likely to develop mental health problems, and schools across the country often do not have enough mental health professionals to care for all students.

“Mental health is just as important to a child’s development as physical health,” said Lisa Hamilton, President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in a press release. “As our nation continues to navigate the fallout from the COVID crisis, policymakers must do more to ensure all children have access to the care and support they need to cope and live fulfilling lives. “

Kids Count Idaho Summary

Idaho Voices for Children director says state should use surplus to invest in children

In health markers, Idaho ranks 19th nationwide, with a slight increase in low birth weight babies and an increase in child and adolescent deaths and rates of obesity. Since 2010, the rate of low birth weight babies has increased from 6.8% to 6.9% and the number of child and adolescent deaths per 100,000 has increased from 28 to 30. Obesity has increased from 24% to 29% since 2016 , as the data shows, which is still slightly below the national average of 32%.

The only positive indicator among the health trends is children without health insurance, which has decreased from 11% in 2008 to 5% in 2020. Tiddens sees this as a related win Expansion of Medicaid in Idaho, which she championed through Idaho Voices for Children.

Idaho ranks lowest in terms of education markers at #36. Since 2008, the number of children not attending preschool has fallen from 66% to 64%, meaning a little under two-thirds of Idaho’s children are not in preschool. This compares to 53% of children aged 3 and 4 nationwide who are not in preschool age.

The number of fourth graders in Idaho who can’t read fell from 68% in 2009 to 63% in 2019, compared to 66% nationwide. But the number of eighth graders in Idaho who have no math skills has increased slightly from 62% to 63%, and the number of Idaho high school students who do not graduate on time is 19% compared to 14% national level.

Tiddens said those markers could be improved by taking advantage of Idaho’s record-breaking surplus.

“We know what it takes to have healthy, thriving children, and our state has the economic muscle to make significant investments in our next generation,” Tiddens said.

2022 child census data

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