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July 24. 2012 11:27PM

If you're a kid, New Hampshire's the place to be


Conlan Hurley, 8, of Manchester, left, and Will Hutcheson, 8, of Bow work on their project in the “If I Ran the Science Center” class during Camp Summer Science at SEE Science Center in Manchester on Tuesday. Thomas Roy/Union Leader 

CONCORD — For the ninth time in the past 10 years, New Hampshire is ranked first in the nation for child wellbeing, according to a national assessment being released today.

The 2012 Kids Count report card from the Annie E. Casey Foundation looked at education, health, family and community support, as well as economic statistics.

“As governor, I am tremendously proud that New Hampshire continues to be the best state in which to raise kids,” Gov. John Lynch said Tuesday. “Not only do we continue to be the best, but we are also improving in the areas of health insurance coverage for children and ensuring more of our young people receive a high school diploma.”

While the state improved in eight of 16 categories, it saw an increase in the number of children living in poverty and those whose families live in economic uncertainty.

Ellen Fineberg is executive director of The Children's Alliance of New Hampshire, the state's Kids Count grantee partner.

The state “did very well overall,” she said, adding: “But we remain concerned about the economic security of our children, with a rise in the poverty rate, and the percent whose parents lack secure employment ... We have to ensure that the 'New Hampshire Advantage' encompasses all of our families and children.”

The Kids Count Data Book is available today in the Kids Count Data Center, datacenter.kidscount.org. For more information on NH, visit www.childrenNH.org.

The number of New Hampshire children living in poverty has increased from 9 to 10 percent between 2007 and 2010, from 26,000 to 28,000 children, according to the report.

There was a 19 percent increase in children whose parents lacked secure employment — from 61,000 to 70,000 between 2008 and 2010.

The data shows that the state's population under the age of 18 declined slightly — from 302,048 in 2007 to 291,310 in 2010, the most recent year numbers are available. There were roughly 8,000 more males than females under 18 in 2010.

The percentage of high school graduates entering a four-year college was 51 percent in 2007 and 48.3 percent in 2010.

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Paula Tracy may be reached at ptracy@unionleader.com.


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