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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

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.

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.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian

Photo credit: Getty Images

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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