Lincoln County ranks 94 in state for child well-being

Published 2:37 pm Thursday, January 5, 2017

Lincoln County ranked 94 out of Kentucky’s 120 counties in overall child well-being, according to the latest Kentucky Kids Count Data Book released in early December. 

The Kids Count Data measures child welfare in all Kentucky counties based on 16 indicators related to four main areas: economic security, education, health and family and community.

For Lincoln, it’s a slight improvement from last year’s data which ranked the county 96 in the state for overall child welfare – but it remains the highest ranking compared to all five surrounding counties. 

The rankings compare child well-being levels across counties from one to 120, with one being the best. The data and rankings are released by Kentucky Youth Advocates. 

Garrard County received a ranking of 83 while Casey County was ranked 64 overall; Boyle County ranked 31; Pulaski County ranked 51; and Rockcastle ranked 53. 

Economic Security

The data shows about 36 percent of Lincoln County children live in poverty, which is the same percentage reported in the 2015 Kids Count data. 

An estimated 26 percent of children across the state live in poverty. 

The 58 percent of children living in high-poverty areas is a slight improvement from last year’s 70 percent. The median household income rose $100 from last year’s $41,000 average and the high rental cost burden dropped by one percent. 

High rental cost burden is defined as “the estimated percentage of renter occupied housing units in which 30 percent or more of monthly household incomes was spent on gross rent (the cost of rent and utilities),” according to the 2016 Kids Count book. 

Education

The percentage of Lincoln kindergartners considered not ready to learn dropped from 63 percent during the 2014-15 school year to 50 percent during the 2015-16 school year. 

The percentage is the same as the state’s overall estimate. 

The numbers reflect the percentage of all screened incoming public school kindergarteners who do not meet readiness-to-learn standards including adaptive, cognitive, motor, communication and social-emotional skills. 

The percentage of fourth graders not proficient in reading also decreased in 2015-16 by 11 percent. Last year’s data reported 53 percent of fourth graders were not proficient in reading. 

The 2016 data shows a minor increase in the number of eighth graders not proficient in math from 64 percent last year to 67 percent this year. 

The number of high school students not graduating on time rose from five percent to nine percent in 2016. 

Health

The rate of smoking during pregnancy remained at a stagnant 31.2 percent in both the 2015 and 2016 Kids Count data while the percentage of low-birthweight babies increased by .1 percent. 

Data shows about 17 percent of children and young adults in Lincoln County are without health insurance compared to last year’s 18 percent. 

There are about 46.4 teen births, ages 15-19, per 1,000 births in the county. 

Family and Community 

The percentage of births to mothers without a high school degree decreased by .7 percent from last year’s 22.1 percent, according to the data book.

The number of children in single-parent families increased from 33 percent last year to 36 percent this year. 

The number of youth, ages 10-17, incarcerated in the juvenile system increased from 24 per 1,000 in the 2015 Kids Count data book to 24.6 in 2016. 

Kids Count is part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s nationwide initiative to enhance the discussion about the future for all children on all levels of government by providing and tracking relative data.  

“KIDS COUNT brings us the facts,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates in the 2016 Kids Count book foreword. “Let’s face the facts and grow together to make Kentucky the best place in America to be young for all children…”

SO YOU KNOW:

Find and/or download the complete 2016 Kids Count Data Book online at kyyouth.org/kentucky-kids-count/.