Oregon fares poorly in Kids Count report

PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon is sitting at 32nd in the country in a new report that tracks health, education, community and household economics of children and families in the U.S.

The 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book moves Oregon even farther down the list - to number 41 - when only economic statistics are considered.

Robin Christian, executive director of Children First for Oregon, said 24 percent of the state's children live in poverty, 37 percent have parents without secure jobs, and high housing-cost burdens are up.

"What's interesting is that even through unemployment is steadily decreasing, Oregon families are still struggling to recover from the recession," she said.

Oregon did perform better than many states in the health category, which tracks birth-weight and health insurance coverage.

Overall, New Hampshire ranked highest and New Mexico lowest nationally, and Washington State and Idaho ranked higher than Oregon.

Christian said the economic statistics are timely, because the legislature is making decisions.

"We need to be investing in programs that safeguard families through periods of economic uncertainty," Christian urged, "supports like the employment-related day care program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families."

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has published the Data Book for 24 years. The 2013 edition is available at www.KidsCount.org.

Deborah Courson Smith of Oregon News Service prepared this article.

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