In an ideal world, children live carefree and have access to their basic needs: nutritious food, a good education, quality health care, adequate safety as well as the love and support of caring adults. When all of these needs are met, children have a strong chance of growing up to become productive members of society. But such fundamental rights are privileges for many children in the U.S. Despite its position as one of the world’s most powerful and prosperous countries, the U.S. disappointingly has the second highest rate of child poverty among economically developed nations.
To put that in perspective, about a fifth, or 14.7 million, of all children in America live under poverty, according to the Children’s Defense Fund. Consider these other facts: In the U.S., a baby is born into poverty every 32 seconds. And by the end of the day, 1,837 children will have been confirmed as being either abused or neglected.
In light of Child Support Awareness Month and International Youth Day, WalletHub compared the welfare of young people within the 50 states and the District of Columbia to underscore the social issues plaguing one of the most vulnerable groups of Americans. The comparison was based on a set of 15 key metrics, ranging from infant death rates to child food-insecurity rates to the percentage of maltreated children. Our findings, as well as expert commentary and a detailed methodology, can be found below.