N.J. is rated highly for child health

A report also cited an increase in poverty among the state's youth.

Posted: July 26, 2012

 NEWARK, N.J. - New Jersey ranks among the top states in children's health and education even as the number of children living in poverty in the state continues to grow, according to an annual survey released Wednesday.

The Kids Count data book for 2012 ranked New Jersey in first place for the high percentage of young children attending preschool.

The state also made a strong showing in children's education overall, ranking second in the nation behind Massachusetts.

But the survey found increases in child poverty in 2012, with New Jersey ranking 19th for the economic well-being of children and families. There was also an increase in the number of children living in a family in which no parent had full-time work.

"New Jersey leads the nation in education and child health, but the rising child poverty means that thousands of New Jersey children face an uphill battle," said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, which produced the state-level Kids Count report.

Children living in poverty are more likely to suffer health problems and are less likely to perform well academically, Zalkind added.

The annual survey by the Annie E. Casey Foundation changed its methodology this year, measuring 16 indicators in four broad categories focusing on economic well-being, education, health, and family and community well-being.

The report found a 17 percent increase between 2005 and 2010 in children living in poverty in New Jersey.

The state earns high marks in many health-related categories, such as a low child/teen mortality rate and a low percentage of young people who abuse alcohol or drugs or lack health coverage.

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