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California Scores Poorly In National Ranking Of Children’s Well-Being

— For the second year in a row, California ranks 41 among American states in a report on children's well-being. The report, released by the nonprofit group Children Now, is based on 16 different measures.

Aired 6/25/13 on KPBS News.

California is the most populous state in the nation, but a new report reveals it's far from the leader when it comes to children's well-being.

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Nearly one in five children (19.2 percent) in San Diego County lived below the federal poverty level in 2011.

California fares worse than the national average in 10 of those measures. These include the categories of children without health insurance, fourth-grade reading levels and teens who abuse alcohol and other drugs.

Children Now's research director Jessica Mindnich said more than two million children in the state live in poverty.

"We have seen an increase in childhood poverty," Mindnich pointed out. "You know, the poverty rate is less than $25,000 for a family of four. In California, that doesn't get you very far."

One out of four California children – or 25 percent – lives in a family where the head of the household doesn't have a high school diploma. That's much higher than the national average, which is 15 percent.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | June 25, 2013 at 9:30 p.m. ― 3 years, 9 months ago

When the government's priorities are to spend more money on prisons and less on education, this happens.

Look on the "bright" side - poverty and lack of education make kids more likely to get into trouble, hence more people for the state to fill their prisons with.

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