THE BEST AND WORST PLACES FOR CHILDREN IN AMERICA

The Childhood Report ranks U.S. counties on how well they protect and provide for children.

Click to Explore this Interactive Map

The Land of Inopportunity

Save the Children has created the first-ever ranking of U.S. counties where children are most and least prioritized and protected.

Researchers examined data from more than 2,600 counties and county-equivalents in all 50 states.

The rankings are based on four factors that cut childhood short: child hunger, poor education, teenage pregnancy and early death due to ill health, accident, murder or suicide.

This report uncovers an unacceptable reality in America, where one child can be exponentially more likely than another to succeed in life based solely on the county where they grow up.

Save the Children's fourth annual Global Childhood Report evaluates the best and worst countries for children by examining factors that cut childhoods short, such as early death, malnutrition, teen births and dropping out of school. The U.S. ranks 43rd out of 180 countries, tied with China and Montenegro, and trailing nearly all other high-income countries in helping children reach their full potential.


County to County: Compare threats to childhood across the U.S.

Select a state, then county to begin
Select a state, then county to begin

For details on the data, click on the state in the map above.


Childhood Shouldn't Be Left to Chance

 

The report shows that political will and investments in children are paying off. Closing equity gaps and making all U.S. counties great places to raise kids would give millions more children full childhoods that set them up for successful futures. If each county protected and provided for its children as well as the highest ranked county in its state, 3.5 million fewer children would struggle with hunger, 130,000 fewer teens would give birth, and 15,000 fewer children would die in America each year.

For more than a century, Save the Children has worked tirelessly to ensure children have the opportunity survive, thrive and be protected – no matter who they are or where they’re from. Our trailblazing founder Eglantyne Jebb was radical in her belief that children have rights – and it’s been our life’s work to advocate for and protect kids in the United States and around the world.

Unfortunately, our nation again faces some of our darkest moments – unjust and racist actions toward our fellow men, women and children. After centuries of systemic racism and injustice, children of color continue to be left behind. Racial inequities start in childhood and have life-long impacts on children of color. Similarly, other economic and social injustices affect children of all races in every corner of our country. We must do better for our nation’s children and close these equity gaps.

This year, as we launch 'The Land of Inopportunity: Closing the Childhood Equity Gap for America’s Kids,' we invite you to stand with us – and with children – and commit to vote at every level of government for children’s futures. Participating in our democracy is one of the greatest privileges we have as Americans – and your vote is important. And powerful.

Rank
County
Child Poverty 1
Child Deaths 2
Child Hunger 3
School Dropouts 4
Teen Pregnancy 5
COVID-19 Vulnerability Score 6
National County Rank


Data Footnotes

D
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.

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


* Scores reflect the degree of vulnerability to stresses on human health caused by disasters or disease oubreaks like COVID-19 and range from 0 (lowest vulnerability) to 1 (highest vulnerability).

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

Download the U.S. Complement to the Global Childhood Report 2020.

Stand with us – and with children – and commit to vote this fall.

Help the most isolated and underserved children in rural America.

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