National Kids Count Publications

KIDS COUNT®, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the well-being of children in the United States. By providing high-quality data and trend analysis, KIDS COUNT seeks to enrich local, state, and national discussions concerning ways to secure better futures for all children — and to raise the visibility of children’s issues through a nonpartisan, evidence-based lens.  West Virginia KIDS COUNT is the KIDS COUNT grantee for West Virginia.

KIDS COUNT Data Book and Publications
At the national level, the project develops and distributes reports on key areas of well-being, including the annual KIDS COUNT Data Book. View current and past KIDS COUNT Data Books. In addition to the annual Data Book, KIDS COUNT explores the well-being of children using new data and policy analysis.

KIDS COUNT Data Center
The Foundation also maintains the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which uses the best available data to measure the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of children. The Data Center features hundreds of indicators with more than four million data points. Users of the site are able to view national, congressional district, county, school district and city data from across the country. Visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

KIDS COUNT State Organizations
The Annie E. Casey Foundation funds a network of state-level organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia that provide a community-by-community picture of the condition of children. The network organizations also monitor budget and legislative decisions in the states and provide policy analysis based on evidence of what works for children and families.  Learn more about KIDS COUNT State Organizations.

KIDS COUNT National Outreach Partners
The KIDS COUNT National Outreach Partners work to elevate the data and analysis provided by KIDS COUNT through a larger network of nonprofits, philanthropies, advocacy organizations, and researchers. Each year, these partners work to promote the latest KIDS COUNT research with their respective stakeholders. Meet the KIDS COUNT National Outreach Partners.

West Virginia improved four places in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2016 national rankings of child well-being, going from 43rd to 39th in the nation in just one year. West Virginia now ties for third best in the nation in terms of the percent of children covered by health insurance. The state’s best rankings can be seen in the Economic Well-being (31) and Family and Community domains (33). However, the state continues to be in the bottom ten in the Casey Foundation’s Education (46) and Health (41) domains.

“This dramatic overall improvement in just one year’s time shows that, when West Virginia invests in the policies that improve kids’ lives, big changes are possible,” said Laura Gandee, interim executive director of West Virginia KIDS COUNT. “Our belief that dramatic, positive changes are possible is the driving force behind KIDS COUNT’s Race2Great campaign. In fact, we believe that, if West Virginia focuses on implementing four key policies over the next five years, we can make our state a top 20 place to be a kid by 2025.”
The four WV KIDS COUNT Race2Great policy pillars are an Earned Income Tax Credit for working families; high-quality pre-school for all three-year-olds; a significant increase in the tobacco tax to reduce pregnancy smoking and low birth-weight babies; and statewide implementation of the state’s health and sex education curriculum to reduce teen pregnancies. Gandee added, “If advocates, communities, and policymakers join forces and focus on implementing these four simple polices, we can make West Virginia a great place for every child, very soon.”
According to the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book from theAnnie. E. Casey Foundation, the teenagers of Generation Z – the rising cohort that follows the Millennials – broke records in education and health indicators despite growing up in the midst of the economic downturn.
Additional information is available at, which also contains the most recent national, state and local data on hundreds of indicators of child well-being. The Data Center allows users to create rankings, maps and graphs for use in publications and on websites, and to view real-time information on mobile devices.
Click here to access the 2015 National KIDS COUNT Data Book.
For the second year running, West Virginia ranks 37th in the nation in child well-being, according to the 2014 National KIDS COUNT Data Book released today.  The Data Book’s 16 indicators of child well-being are divided into four domains:  economic well-being, education, health and family and community.  West Virginia’s best domain ranking was in economic well-being (28th), followed by family and community (33rd), health (35th) and education (46th).

The state’s best individual indicator rankings included teens ages 12 to 17 who abused alcohol or drugs in the past year (2nd); children in households that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing (4th); and children without health insurance (5th).

Our worst individual rankings were children ages 3 to 4 not attending pre-school (47th); 8th graders who scored below proficient math level (46th) and the teen birth rate (45th).

Click here to view a black and white version of the full report.  

Click here to view the West Virginia Fact Sheet.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 KIDS COUNT® Data BookWest Virginia’s education system ranks 47th (or 4th worst) in the nation for the second straight year.

Nearly three out of four West Virginia 4th graders (73%) are not proficient in reading, and nearly two out of three of the state’s three- and four-year-olds (64%) are not enrolled in a pre-school program.  Joining West Virginia in the bottom five for education are Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada.

West Virginia fared significantly better in the report’s children’s health indicators with a national ranking of 27th, which is up from 31st in the nation last year. The state ranks 33rd in the economic well-being for children and 34th in family and community measures, and its overall national rank is 37th out of 50.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 KIDS COUNT® Data Book,West Virginia ranks 47th in the nation in the report’s education indicators. Nearly four out of five of the state’s 8th graders (79%) are not proficient in math, and nearly three out of four 4th graders (73%) are not proficient in reading. Joining West Virginia in the bottom five nationally are Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico and Nevada. On a national level, children continued to see setbacks in their economic well-being but have experienced gains in the education and health areas.

“In West Virginia, the effects of chronic poverty are being compounded by years of underinvestment in our youngest children. Our ranking of 47th in the nation in education reinforces KIDS COUNT’s constant refrain that now is the time to finally make high-quality, affordable childcare a state priority.” said Margie Hale. “We will continue to face tough budget decisions, but the question we have to answer going forward is: What are our budget priorities? Longitudinal studies have clearly proven that high-quality, affordable childcare has a significant, positive impact on children’s school performance and provides a $5.20 return for every dollar the state puts into it. Unfortunately, West Virginia is not making young children a priority when programs like childcare subsidies for the working poor are being reduced or eliminated. We can and must do better.”

Click here to go to the KIDS COUNT Data Center and learn more about the 2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book and the West Virginia numbers.

According to data released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in its 2011 KIDS COUNT ® Data Book, over the last decade there has been a significant decline in economic well-being for low income children and families. Data also reveals the impact of the job and foreclosure crisis on children. The 2011 book explores how children and families are faring in the wake of the recession and why it matters to help kids reach their full potential to become part of a robust economy and society.

To find more information related to the 2011 National KIDS COUNT Data Book, or to create your own customized maps, graphs, or charts, visit the 2011 National Data Book home page.

The latest KIDS COUNT data snapshot,Measuring Access to Opportunity, released February 25, 2015, illustrates how outdated methods of measuring poverty in the United States are giving an inaccurate picture of how families are really faring and what public programs are actually working. The brief introduces the more accurate Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) and shows how government programs affect state poverty rates. Recommendations on targeting families in need give policymakers input on implementing efficient and cost-effective public programs.

By using the SPM, researchers have determined that the national rate of children in poverty has declined from 33 percent to 18 percent as a result of these programs and policies.  In West Virginia, the rate has declined from 30 percent to 13 percent as a result of the safety net and lifted 64,000 kids out of poverty.

Click here to learn more about the Casey Foundation’s work and its Data Center resources.