Mississippi, Alabama Improve in Kids Count Survey

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A new national survey ranks Mississippi 49th overall for the well-being of children.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has done its Kids Count survey for 24 years. This is the first time Mississippi has not ranked 50th. New Mexico is in that spot now.

The survey says Mississippi ranks 48th in education and health, showing improvements in both areas. The state ranked 50th in economic well-being and family and community issues.

It says 32 percent of Mississippi children lived in poverty in 2011, compared to 23 percent nationally.

In 2009-2010, 36 percent of Mississippi high school students were not graduating on time, compared to 22 percent in the nation.

In Mississippi, 12.1 percent of babies born in 2010 had low birth weight. The national rate was 8.1 percent.

Alabama has moved up one spot to 44th in the Kids Count national rankings.

Alabama showed improvements in children's health and education between 2005 and 2011. The teen birth rate declined and the rate of high school students not graduating in four years also declined.

The executive director of VOICES for Alabama's Children, Linda Tilley, said Alabama is showing momentum after ranking 46th, 47th and 48th for many years. But she said one area of concern in the new data book is that the percentage of Alabama children living in poverty increased from 25 percent to 28 percent.