Kids Count Report: S.C. 39th, Black Children Still Last

By Barney Blakeney

The Annie E. Casey Foundation June 18 released its 30th edition KIDS COUNT Data Book. The Data Book ranks states in areas of child well-being. South Carolina ranked 39 among the 50 United States. And in South Carolina, African American children fared worse in nearly every category.

The report that charts statistics as recent as 2017 is compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national organization that since 1948 monitors and reports on the wellbeing of children. Two years ago the report said, “South Carolina achieved its highest placement to date in an annual nationwide survey of child well-being. Improvements in measures of strong families and children with health insurance placed South Carolina at 38th in the nation for child wellbeing. I reviewed the report’s most recent data on African American children in South Carolina in education and economics. Here’s what I found:

About 30 percent of the state’s children under age 18 are Black. About 55 percent are white. Kids Count’s report on the economic welfare of children is disparaging for Black children. The median family income for whites in the state in 2017 was about $77,900 compared to the median family income of $31,000 for Blacks and $37,600 for Hispanics.

In calendar year 2017, a family of two adults and two children fell in the “poverty” category if their annual income fell below $24,858.About 245,000 children were considered living in poverty. Thirty-seven percent were Black, 38 percent were Hispanic and only about 12 percent were white. Nearly 20 percent of the 110,000 children 18 or younger in the state who live in extreme poverty were Black compared to just six percent of white children and 13 percent of Hispanic children.

The correlation between income and education also was reflected in the wellbeing of children. More than twice as many Black families (14 percent) as white families (six percent) are headed by individuals who lack a high school diploma. And disturbingly, of 2,851 children expelled from school 1,775 were Black compared to 883 white children. Only 80 were Hispanic.

The long term affect is evident. While 51 percent of white young adults ages 18 to 24 are enrolled in or have completed college compared to only 38 percent of Black young adults that age. Some 333 Black youth were residing in juvenile detention, correctional and/or residential facilities in 2015 compare to 222 whites and 111 Hispanics.

The report includes data in other categories – Family & Community, Health and Safety & Risky Behavior. To view the full report, go to www.aecf.org/databook.

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