NASHVILLE - The days of "Thank God for Mississippi" are no more. For the first time in decades, Mississippi no longer ranks as the worst state in which to be a child, according to the newest "Kids Count" data released today by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. The numbers evaluate child well-being through 2010 and 2011.
Mississippi's perpetually low rankings for health and education became a bane for state officials while sparing other low-ranking states from the shame of being the worst.
That distinction now falls to New Mexico. Increasing poverty, more single-parent homes and continuing high unemployment combined to sink that state. And on measurements that improved, such as preschool attendance, New Mexico's modest gains were outpaced by Mississippi's.
Tennessee, meanwhile, ranked 39th for overall child well-being, down three positions from the prior year. The state's struggles with poverty persist, with a fourth of all Tennessee children living in poverty.
Read more at The Tennessean.