The 2021 Childhood Report ranks all 50 states by how well they are protecting and providing for children during the pandemic

Click to Explore this Interactive Map

Childhood In the Time of COVID

As we approach the one-year mark of nationwide school closures and stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, Save the Children examined how the unprecedented events of 2020 impacted families with children.

The COVID Childhood Protection Ranking examines three hardships that are making it more difficult for children across America to reach their full potential:

Evaluating four months of data on these three factors in all 50 states, Save the Children found families are suffering in every state and at every income level. But huge disparities exist along geographic, income and racial/ethnic lines – depriving children of the futures they deserve. 

The Disproportionate Burden of COVID-19

Many of our worst fears for vulnerable children have become realities during the pandemic

State Rank
Child Poverty 1
Child Deaths 2
Child Hunger 3
School Dropouts 4
Teen Pregnancy 5
National County Rank

Data Footnotes

County does not have sufficient data to be ranked
Or county-equivalent
Data are unavailable
Out of 2,617 U.S. counties and county-equivalents with sufficient data to be ranked. See Methodology and Research Notes for details.
Children in the lowest-ranked county are X times as likely as children in the highest-ranked county to have their childhoods cut short.

Data Source (Reference Year)
1 Child Poverty
% of children (aged 0-18) living in poverty**
U.S. Census Bureau, SAIPE Program (2018)
2 Child Mortality
Deaths among children under age 18 per 100,000
CDC WONDER mortality data (2014-2018)*
3 Child Food Insecurity
% of children (aged 0-18) who lack adequate access to food
Map the Meal Gap (2017)
4 High School Dropouts
% of ninth-grade cohort that fails to graduate in four years
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps (2018)*
5 Teen Births
Births per 1,000 females aged 15-19
National Center for Health Statistics (2018)

* Or most recent year available

** Counties with rates at or above 30% are considered high-poverty counties

These data were first published last year along with the U.S. Complement to the Global Childhood Report 2020.

  • Today, 17 million children are struggling with hunger
  • At least 1 in 4 children don’t have the tools they need for distance learning
  • Nationwide, 69% of families are having difficulty making ends meet
  • Children of color are twice as likely as white kids to face hunger
  • Black and Hispanic children are about 1.5 times as likely as white kids to lack remote-learning tools
  • Two-thirds of Black and Hispanic families report losing employment income

Learn More About How You Can Help

This new analysis underscores that far too many children in America are facing unrelenting disadvantages that are multiplied by COVID — urgent action must be taken to ensure they have the childhoods they deserve.

Download the U.S. Complement to the Global Childhood Report 2021.

Stand with us – and with children – and support vital anti-hunger programs.

Access tools and tips you can trust about COVID-19 and kids.


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