Kids Count Ranks Mississippi 50th

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A new study on the well-being of America's children ranks Mississippi at the bottom of the nation. The 2003 Kids Count Data Book shows Mississippi improved between 1990 and 2000 on seven out of 10 measures, including infant mortality, child deaths, teen deaths and child poverty rates.

The improvement was only slight, and the state suffered setbacks in other areas. They included the rate of underweight babies, which increased to 10.7 percent from 9.6 percent, and an increase of single-parent homes to 34 percent from 28 percent.

The 14th annual data book, compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, ranks Mississippi 50th among the states based on government data.

The Kids Count report included examples of both public and private initiatives around the country that help low-income families get financial security. The report advocates attracting mainstream retailers into low income areas.