The South is still the epicenter of child poverty in the United States, but the old "thank God for Mississippi" saying we Southerners all know is no longer operative when it comes to overall child well-being, according to the annual Kids Count report issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. For the first time in the 24 years that the Casey Foundation has issued the report--which is avidly read by journalists, social scientists and policy makers around the country--New Mexico has replaced Mississippi as 50th in the ranks.
That's the good news. The bad news is that there still seems to be an inverse relationship between geographic latitude and child poverty rates--i.e., that the further South you go the more child poverty you will find. After Mississippi, Louisiana came in at 46, followed by South Carolina at 45, Alabama at 44, Georgia at 43, Arkansas at 40, Tennessee at 39, North Carolina at 35--and then Virginia, way up at 11. Texas (which is only partly a Southern state these days), Nevada and California don't come out looking so well, either, but for the most part, sadly, the South has got the child poverty thing covered.
The state with the lowest child poverty? It's them dern Yankees up in New Hampshire.