How the East compares to the state in overall child well-being

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Children in North Carolina are falling behind other states in terms of health, education and economic opportunity. That’s according to a new report by the Cassie Foundation. 9 On Your Side dug through the report to find out how kids in the East stack up to kids statewide.

9 On Your Side dug through the report to find out how kids in the East stack up to kids statewide.

The 2016 Kids Count report found North Carolina is slowly moving up in the ranks for child well-being in certain areas. North Carolina is ranked 34th in the country for overall well-being. In the state, 24-percent of children live in poverty, much less than counties in the East.

In Pitt County, 27-percent are impoverished, 43-percent in Washington County, 36-percent in Lenoir, 20-percent in Onslow and 26-percent in Craven County.

When looking at high school graduation rates, counties in the East basically matched North Carolina’s rates.

To note, it’s Washington County with one of the highest graduation rates. 78-percent of high school students graduate in Pitt and Lenoir, and that’s on the low-end, but not far behind the state’s rate as a whole.

For every 1,000 people, 39 have children in their teenage years. That number, lower in Pitt County, is at 27. However, looking at other counties in the East, it skyrockets.

54 in Washington, 56 in both Lenoir and Craven Counties and 66 in Onslow.

Lisa Mulligan, executive director of the Martin-Pitt Partnership for Children, said one of the best ways to promote overall well-being for children is investing in them from the beginning.

“Invest early and invest strong really does that, put that effort towards early childhood care and early parent support,” she said.

The Casey Foundation recommends just that and recommends North Carolina to expand access to high-quality preschools and higher education.

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