West Virginia Data Book

Download the 2016 WV Data Book

Previous WV Data Books

2015 WV Data Book

According to the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book released on April 13, 2016,most indicators of child well-being in West Virginia show improvement since 2005. The two exceptions are the percent of low birth-weight babies and children in poverty, both of which have worsened.

The release of the 2015 Data Book also marks the official launch of KIDS COUNT’s Race2Great, a five-year campaign to implement four key policies that can dramatically improve child well-being in West Virginia.

“Despite important improvements in child well-being during the past 10 years, West Virginia remains a perennial bottom-15 finisher in the national KIDS COUNT child well-being rankings,” said Laura Gandee, Interim Executive Director of KIDS COUNT. “It doesn’t have to be this way. Together, we can make our state a better place for kids. That’s why KIDS COUNT is taking the lead in a bold race to move West Virginia from 43rd in the nation to the top 20 by 2025.”

Click here to learn more about KIDS COUNT’s Race2Great Project!

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2014 WV Data Book

One in three West Virginia children (32%) under age six lives in a family with an income below the federal poverty level.  That means 38,000 of the state’s youngest kids are at risk of starting school significantly behind their wealthier classmates and never catching up, according to the 2014 West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Book.    

The book includes a KIDS COUNT info-graphic, Closing the Achievement Gap, which details how income affects achievement, and what can be done to give every West Virginia child a fair shot at success.

To see the Supplementary Tables for the 2014 Data Book click here.

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2013 WV Data Book

There are nearly 68,600 kids under six in West Virginia who need childcare, but more than nine out of ten of those kids are in care that is of unknown quality or meets only minimum licensing standards, according to the West Virginia KIDS COUNT 2013 Data Book.  The 2013 Data Book features a pull-out “info-graphic” called “The Big Payoff:  Why We Should Be (But Aren’t) Investing the Most in WV’s Youngest Kids.” The info-graphic outlines, for first time, the dire shortage of high-quality childcare programs for the state’s youngest children.

According to KIDS COUNT, fewer than 1,700 children under six who need childcare are in care that meets the highest quality standard: national accreditation. Furthermore, the state ranks 45th out of the 50 states in the number of three- and four-year olds enrolled in pre-school, and only one in five West Virginia three-year-olds is enrolled in a pre-school program.  The shortage of high-quality childcare programs and low pre-school participation rates stand in sharp contrast to the findings of a 2005 Marshall University study showing the state could earn a $5.20 return for every dollar it invests in high-quality early child development programs.

The KIDS COUNT info-graphic also features a chart from Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, who has proven that investments in our youngest children have the highest returns of any age group.

Supplementary Tables for the 2013 Data Book

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2012 WV Data Book

For decades, teen births had been decreasing in West Virginia and the nation.  But, in 2006, West Virginia’s rates began to worsen, and the disparity between the state and national rates became much greater.  The 2012 West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Book focuses on the recent upward trend in the state’s teen birth rate and outlines a set of solutions proven to reduce teen pregnancy, including full implementation of the state’s comprehensive sex education curriculum.
In 2010, West Virginia’s teen birth rate was 45 per thousand teen girls, while the national rate was significantly lower at 34 per thousand.  With a rank of 40, West Virginia is among the 10 worst states in the nation for teen births.  KIDS COUNT’s report notes that the state’s teen birth rate increased between 2005 and 2009, and the difference between the state and the national rates has grown steadily wider.  However, in 2010, the teen birth rates in both West Virginia and the nation showed a slight decrease.
KIDS COUNT’s 2012 Data Book presents the teen pregnancy picture in West Virginia in the form of an “info-graphic” and uses a county-by-county bar graph and color-coded state map to demonstrate how the increase in teen births is particularly acute in eight southern and central West Virginia counties. McDowell County’s rate is by far the highest at 95.76 per thousand teens. That rate is nearly seven times higher than Monongalia County, which boasts the state’s lowest teen birth rate, and more than twice the state average of 45 per thousand in 2010. KIDS COUNT’s West Virginia teen pregnancy info-graphic is available as a pull-out poster in the 2012 Data Book.
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2011 WV Data Book

The 2011 West Virginia KIDS COUNT Data Book asks the question, “Is West Virginia a great place to be a kid?” And, according to KIDS COUNT’s 20th annual report on the well-being of West Virginia’s children, the answer is a decidedly mixed bag with some key indicators showing dramatic improvements and others pointing to alarming declines. For instance, since 2005, the child abuse and neglect rate has improved by 21.8%; the teen injury/death rate has improved by 15.4%; and the child death rate has improved by 8.8%. However, during the same period, the percent of births to unmarried teens got 13% worse, and the teen birth rate worsened by 10.9%.

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2010 WV Data Book

According to the 2010 KIDS COUNT Data Book, six of the twelve key indicators of child well-being have improved since 2000. And, for the first time since the new millenium, the percent of low birth-weight babies appears to have stabilized at 9.6%, after seven years of alarmingly steady increases. However, the percent of children approved for free and reduced-priced school lunches, a proxy measure for the percent of children living in families that are “near poor,” has increased substantially from 49.4% in 2000 to 55.6% in 2008 and is 2% higher than it was in 2007.

2010 Data Book Essay

The 2010 Data Book Essay, Is Your Business on Board? A Profile of Childcare-Friendly Businesses in West Virginia, examines the results of a statewide survey KIDS COUNT commissioned to determine the extent to which the state’s employers are providing a childcare-friendly workplace. According to the random sample survey of West Virginia business leaders, about four in 10 employers are concerned about their organization’s ability to provide childcare benefits to their employees, and about half offer some form of childcare benefit for their employees.

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2009 WV Data Book

In the 2009 report, eight of the twelve key indicators of child well-being had shown solid improvement since the start of the new millennium. The most dramatic improvements  were in the percent of eligible children served by Head Start (a 23.4%improvement) and the juvenile delinquency case rate (an 18.2% improvement). However, three important indicators of child well-being have gotten worse. The percent of low birth-weight babies increased from 8.4% in 2000 to 9.6% in 2007, a worsening of 13.7%. The percent of children approved for free and reduced price school meals increased from 49.5% in 2000 to 53.6% in 2007, a worsening of 8.4% and evidence of increasing childpoverty. And, the percent of high school dropouts increased from 16.4% in 2000 to 17.0% in 2007a a worsening of 3.7%.

2009 Data Book Essay

The KidsFirst Communities Campaign: A Playbook for Early Child Development Policy Change outlines KIDS COUNT’s successful campaign to advocate for legislation creating a childcare quality rating and improvement system in West Virginia.

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2008 WV Data Book

64,000 West Virginia children spend a large part of their day in the care of someone other than their parents. The state currently has no comprehensive system for measuring the quality of that care, and, at the time of this report, only 8% of the state’s childcare centers met the national gold standard for quality. To address the quality gap, many states are implementing childcare quality rating and improvement systems. The 2008 KIDS COUNT Data Book takes an in-depth look at the rationale for these childcare quality rating systems; the successful experiences of other states that have implemented them; and KIDS COUNT’s grassroots effort to build broad public support for a childcare quality rating and improvement system in West Virginia.

Click here for a link to the supplementary data tables, the raw data that formed the basis of the 2009 Data Book.

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2007 WV Data Book

The 2007 Data Book details a series of focus groups and surveys KIDS COUNT conducted with parents, childcare providers and community leaders during the summer of 2007. The research was designed to tell the story of how working parents, providers and communities struggle to meet the developmental needs of young children and find out what they believe state government and local communities can and should do to ensure childcare quality.

Click here for a link to the supplementary data tables, the raw data that formed the basis of the 2007 Data Book.

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2006 WV Data Book

The 2006 Data Book details a three-year effort led by KIDS COUNT to create the framework for quality and accountability in West Virginia’s early child development (ECD) system.

The essay section of the book focuses on the results of the first year of that effort: an assessment of West Virginia’s current ECD policies and an analysis of how policymakers, opinion leaders and advocates feel about new investments in ECD programs.

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2005 WV Data Book

The focus of the 2005 Data Book is a major project KIDS COUNT launched to help parents and caregivers lay the Building Blocks of Learning for children zero to three. In 2005 KIDS COUNT talked to West Virginia parents and caregivers about their awareness, understanding and practice of key building blocks of learning: love, talk, rhyme, read and play. Their answers formed the basis of a social marketing campaign to remind parents and caregivers to incorporate the building blocks into their every-day activities with young children.

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2004 WV Data Book

The focus of the 2004 Data Book was the readiness of young children to enter school. KIDS COUNT gathered data on a number of school readiness indicators to stimulate public discussion and assist in the development of policies that would ensure every West Virginia child enters school ready to learn and succeed.

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