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Nevada KIDS COUNT shows nearly a quarter of our kids live in poverty

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Nevada KIDS COUNT shows nearly a quarter of our kids live in poverty

By Denise Wong. CREATED Jun 18, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- When it comes to the well-being of our kids, Nevada has a lot to work on.

The latest Nevada KIDS COUNT Data Book was just released by the UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research and sponsored by the Annie C. Casey Foundation. It looks at data up through 2012 and researchers found there's been an increase in the percentage of our kids living in poverty. 

The data book found that 23.4 percent of Nevada children were living in poverty in 2012. That's an 8.4 percent increase from the start of the recession in 2008. 

"The increased number of children living in poverty signals to an uneven recovery that had not reached deeply into the population by 2012," said Stephen Brown, an economist at UNLV and the executive director of Nevada Kids County.  

The data book also shows that we have a long way to go in the classroom. The Annie C. Casey Foundation ranked Nevada worst among the states on the Education domain, which is comprised of four indicators.

Nevada performed worse than the national as a whole on all four of the education indicators: Children not attending preschool, fourth graders not proficient in reading, eighth graders not proficient in math, and high school students not graduating on time. 

Still, Brown points out that the state's graduation rate is improving. There are other reasons to be hopeful. 

Seven indicators of child well-being are measured for the data book from 2010-2012: The state's percentage of low-birth-weight babies, infant mortality rate, child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, percentage of children in poverty, and the percentage of teens who are high school dropouts. 

All measured areas improved except the average percentage of children living in poverty. 

Brown said he's optimistic the child poverty rate will go down when next year's annual report comes out. 

"Because the economy really improved a lot in 2013, I'm hoping that we'll see fewer children in poverty in 2013," said Brown.

Denise Wong

Denise Wong

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Denise Wong is a general assignment reporter for Action News. Catch her live reports on Good Morning Las Vegas.