(08/10/2018)
A recent WalletHub study finds West Virginia one of the top states in the country with the most underprivileged children. West Virginia is ranked seventh with the most underprivileged children in the country.

Ohio is ranked 21st and Kentucky is ranked 13th. Mississippi is ranked first, New Mexico is second and Nevada is third in the study.

WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia with 24 different measures of neediness under the categories of socio-economic welfare, health and education. Each metric under the three categories was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the worst conditions for children.

West Virginia’s socio-economic welfare rank is third, health rank is third and education rank is 31st, according to the study.

WalletHub has the Mountain State ranked first with the highest percentage of children in foster care.

Other rankings for West Virginia including 23rd in percentage of children in single-parent families.

11th infant mortality rate, 15th in child food insecurity, seventh in percentage of maltreated children and 12th in percentage of children in households with below-poverty income.

Douglas Massey, a sociology and public affairs professor at Princeton University, said Head Start is a good way to boost the educational and job prospects for poor families.

Massey also told WalletHub that five top indicators for underprivileged children are infant mortality, low weight birth rate, the share of children growing up without a father, the percentage of elementary students eligible for subsidized lunches and the poverty rate in neighborhoods inhabited by the poor.

Chris Wimer, co-director of the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, said direct material and financial support are important for equalizing opportunity for children.

“We find that a universal child benefit, which most advanced democracies have, could cut child poverty nearly in half,” Wimer said in the report.

“While the U.S. doesn’t have such a policy, refundable tax credits like the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit can still make headway in significantly reducing child poverty.”


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