The number of Georgia kids living in poverty climbed to nearly 570,000 in recent years with the state ranking among the worst in the country for overall child well-being, a new study shows.
Despite improving in some areas, the Peach State remained at No. 42 for the third straight year in the 2011 Kids Count Data Book, which measures critical indicators of child well-being such as infant mortality rates and the number of children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment.
Georgia lagged behind the national average on each of 10 key measures, according to the report by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore-based private charitable organization. The state ranked 46th in the country for low-birth-weight babies; 41st for children in single-parent homes and 42nd in infant mortality. Meanwhile, it's childhood poverty rate jumped by 22 percent between 2000 and 2009.
Nationwide, the number of kids in poverty climbed to 20 percent -- essentially erasing the gains made in the 1990s, said Laura Speer, the foundation's associate director of policy reform and data.