Texas pride – we have big goals – we dream Texas sized dreams – we aim high. At least some of us do, uh….for ourselves. We take care of ourselves. But, what about those we‘re leaving behind, the ones we can’t see (or don’t want to see)?
In a bad economy, we tend to think of ourselves first, and then if there’s anything left, we think of the underdog. Letting them fall through the crack a little bit does’nt hurt things much does it? A few extra stressed out single moms who can’t afford medical care of any sort, a few more misguided young pregnant 13 year olds who don’t have solid guidance and support system to know better to use contraception or even abstain. A few more kids living in dire poverty is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Enough! Our egos can sometimes be the biggest thing that stands in our way in developing a strong society. Adapting to change which means that we need to understand more than ever that we are all interconnected.
We are doing a bit better this last year – but we are still far off the mark. Interesting that change can start happening the minute we commit ourselves to it. As Texans – we are all partners together for change. Look at these numbers and make some decisions about what you would like to do to make change.
Check out these interesting facts that came out last week from Kids Count from the Annie E. Caasey foundation. Every year the foundation comes out with the latest data. The top 3 states for kids are New Hampshire (1), Minnesota (2), and Massachusetts (3). While the bottom 3 are New Mexico (48), Louisianna (49), and Mississippi (50).
- Instead of being #50, we are now tied for 49th place in teen pregnancy numbers with New Mexico. While the U.S. teen birthrate declined by 17 percent from 2000 to 2005, the drop in Texas was only 10 percent. Both Texas and New Mexico had 62 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 in 2005, tying them for 49th worst among the states.
- In regards to health, babies born weighing less than 5.5 pounds increased by 12 percent.
- Baby deaths increased 16% with a rate of 6.6 deaths per 1,000 babies, making Texas #27th in the nation in infant mortality.
- And the teen death rates are decreasing. More children are living below the poverty level, in single-parent households, and under extreme financial stress. The child death rate (ages 1 to 14) and teen death rate (ages 15 to 19) is down 13 percent in Texas.
- High school dropout numbers were cut in half, from 14 percent in 2000 to 7 percent in 2006, tying the national percentage.
- The number of children living in poverty in 2006 has increased by 9%
Check it all the news on Texas out at Kids Count at http://www.kidscount.org/datacenter/profile_results.jsp?r=45&d=1.
Community level data can be found at http://www.kidscount.org/cgi-bin/cliks.cgi?action=profile&areatree_expand=TX.
And while you’re at it, check out the latest Census data at http://www.kidscount.org/cgi-bin/aeccensus.cgi?action=profileresults&area=48S.