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Kids Count Data Book ranks South Dakota behind neighboring states

A smiling face is a great way to start any day, particularly if you're a Kindergarten student on your first day of school. Washington Elementary in Pierre, SD.
Patrick M Callahan
SDPB Flickr
Kindergarteners attend their first day of school at Washington Elementary in Pierre in this file image.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has published the new edition of its annual Kids Count Data Book. It ranks South Dakota in the top 10 of economic well-being, but in the middle of the pack in other categories.

The report ranks South Dakota 29th in education, 28th in health, and 27th in family and community — good for an overall ranking of 24th.

Leslie Boissiere is with the Casey Foundation.

"It’s incredibly important that decisionmakers seize the opportunity and the lessons learned during the COVID-19 period, when more resources were provided to families, so that we can make sure that every child has their basic needs met — that fewer children live in poverty, and that the overall well-being of children in this country increases," Boissiere said.

Leslie Boissiere, Annie E. Casey Foundation

The report says the rate of child poverty in South Dakota is steady at 11 percent. Nationwide, that number has fallen from 13 to 9 percent since 2008.

South Dakotan children aged 3 and 4 years old are 9 percent more likely than the average American child to not be enrolled in a daycare program, and the state's teens are 2 percent more likely than average to not graduate high school on time.

All of South Dakota’s neighboring states received higher overall rankings in the report, with Minnesota ranked third, Iowa and Nebraska at nine and 10, and North Dakota at 11th.

— Greater Dakota News Service contributed to this report.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture