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Survey says ND, Minn. good for kids

GRAND FORKS -- According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2013 Kids Count Data Book, North Dakota ranks sixth nationally in overall child well-being, with Minnesota two slots ahead at fourth.

In addition to overall national rankings, the annual assessment rates each state in four categories: economic well-being, family and community, education, and health.

North Dakota ranks first in economic well-being, with the state having the smallest proportion of children with parents lacking secure employment.

It ranks fourth in family and community, with the state having the second-lowest proportion of children living in single-parent homes.

Where North Dakota fell behind was in education and health, where it ranks 16th and 25th, respectively.

While the state may have the third-lowest proportion of high school students failing to graduate on time, the data show that nearly two-thirds of fourth-graders lack proficiency in reading and over half of eighth-graders lack proficiency in math.

As for health, the child death rate in North Dakota ranks 41st in the U.S. and the percentage of babies born with low birth weight increased from 6.4 percent in 2005 to 6.7 percent in 2010.

Data provided for North Dakota are from the North Dakota Kids Care initiative at North Dakota State University.

Minnesota maintained its decade-long streak of landing in the top five for overall child well-being, ranking high in the categories of family and community, economic well-being and education.

Minnesota's best ranking came in family and community at No. 5. Economic well-being and education weren't far behind, with the state ranking sixth and seventh in the categories, respectively.

As for health, Minnesota ranks 15th, most notably indicated by about 80,000 children living without health insurance.

For the full list of state rankings and data, visit