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2022 Report: Texas Ranks 45th for Child Well-Being


Tuesday, August 9, 2022   

When it comes to child well-being, Texas is slipping further behind, according to the 2022 Kids Count Data Book, compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 50-state report showed Texas continues to rank worst in the nation for children's health insurance coverage, 48th for children's health, and 45th for child well-being.

Coda Rayo-Garza, director of research and data for the group Every Texan, said data from 16 indicators including economic well-being, education, health, and family and community factors show how poorly the state is performing.

"We're actually doing worse on some indicators, like obesity, like the death rate for children and teens per 100,000," Rayo-Garza reported. "We're actually doing worse in those spaces."

In Texas, 10% of high school students reported attempted suicide, higher than the national average of 9%.

During the pandemic, more than half a million Texas children ages three to 17 had anxiety or depression, a 23% increase from 2016.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said minority children experienced the largest increases in mental-health issues among Texas children.

"We are seeing that Black and native children are more likely to experience anxiety and depression," Boissiere noted. "Part of that is because of financial hardship, part of it because of deeply rooted systemic barriers that children of color face."

Rayo-Garza added the data should be a message for Texas lawmakers on what needs to be prioritized in next year's legislative session.

"It's really giving us insight into the world that young Texans and children are living in terms of everything from school safety to suicide, mental health," Rayo-Garza argued. "They're sending a very clear message."

Texas is one of 17 states to not expand Medicaid and has almost five million people living without health insurance, making it the state with the highest uninsured rate in the country, at 19%, compared with the national average of 11%.

Disclosure: The Annie E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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