COLUMBIA — South Carolina ranks better than just seven states in the overall wellbeing of its children, according to a national report released today.
The Kids Count survey from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that one in every four children in South Carolina lives in poverty, or in a household with income of $23,050 or less.
That figure has gone up 13 percent since 2005. And the number of South Carolina children whose parents lack secure employment increased by 23 percent, according to the study.
But there were some positives. The report showed there was a 31 percent decrease in South Carolina children who lack health insurance. And the number of South Carolina teens who abuse alcohol or drugs went down by 25 percent.
The report ranked South Carolina children’s economic well-being at 34th in the country. Sue Williams, chief executive of the Children’s Trust of South Carolina, said that the state’s economic rankings continue to be strained by the state’s high unemployment rate.
In June, South Carolina’s jobless rate was 9.4 percent, a 0.3 percent increase from the month before and more than a full percentage point higher than national unemployment.
South Carolina’s education and health indicators were more positive. There was a 31 percent decrease in children without health insurance, a 25 percent decrease in teens who abuse alcohol or drugs and a 15 percent drop in child and teen deaths.
But even with those brighter spots, Williams said South Carolina still has much work to be done to improve the lives of its children.
“As 43rd in the nation, we still have much room for improvement and these numbers should not give us a false sense of success,” Williams said. “There are far too many children and their futures at risk.”