The 2023 National KIDS COUNT®

The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2023 KIDS COUNT Data Book ranks Alabama 45th in overall child well-being as compared with other states across the nation.  New Hampshire and Utah received this year’s top rankings, while only Oklahoma, Nevada, Mississippi, Louisiana and New Mexico ranked lower than Alabama.

The Data Book uses 16 indicators with data from 2012 to 2021 and ranks each state across four domains: health, education, economic well-being and family and community. Alabama saw improvements in 5 of the 16 indicators and remained the same in 3 and got worse in 8. Alabama improved in all four indicators in the family and community domain, and got worse in three of the four health indicators, two of the education indicators and two of the economic well-being indicators..

The bright spots for our state in this year’s report are indicators where Alabama’s rate was better than the national average. Those include children living in households with a high housing cost burden (26%), high school students not graduating on time (9%), children without health insurance (4%), children in families where household head lacks a high school diploma (10%).

This year’s report also focused on accessibility and affordability of child care. The nation saw 13 percent of children whose family had job changed due to child care problems. In Alabama that rate was 10 percent. The cost of child care in Alabama for center based care for a toddler for a single mother averaged $7,501 or an estimated 30 percent of median income while the cost for a married couple with children was estimated at 8 percent of median income. The report also shared the estimated cost of family- or home-based child care which averaged $6,053 or 24 percent of median income for a single mother and 6 percent of median income for a married couple with children.

Massachusetts had the highest average cost of center based care and family- or home-based child care at $19,961 and $13,344, respectively. Costs were even higher in the District of Columbia at $24,.396 and $19,291, respectively.

There is Still Room for Alabama to Grow...

“It is no surprise that children in Alabama, and across the country, struggled throughout the COVID pandemic. Now that we are beginning to zero in on the areas where child well-being endured its biggest setbacks, we are better positioned to understand where to invest to reverse course. Child care is one of the most pressing areas needing help.”

— Rhonda Mann, VOICES’ Executive Director