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Report: Wash. kids are poorer, but better educated

Associated Press

More Washington kids are living in poverty today than before the recession, but they are better educated and their health has improved, according to a new report released Monday.

The annual survey released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the number of Washington children living in poverty has increased to 18 percent, but poverty in the state is still well below the national average.

Washington children beat the national average on many measures studied by the foundation for its annual "Kids Count" report.

Overall, Washington is ranked 19th in the nation for child well-being. The state's best score is in the area of child health, where Washington is ranked 6th best in the nation.

Washington's child poverty rate was 15 percent in 2005, as defined as a family of four that makes less than $22,811. The poverty rate increased to 18 percent in 2011 mostly because more of their parents were out of work or lacked job security.

Most of the statistics in this year's report come from 2011 figures released by government agencies. The national poverty rate for children in 2011 was 23 percent.

Among the other Washington findings:

-More kids are attending preschool, but at 41 percent, Washington's numbers are still below the national average of 46 percent attending preschool between 2009 and 2011.

-More eighth-graders are proficient in math at 40 percent and high school graduation rates have improved, but 24 states are doing better than Washington in selected education statistics.

-Child and teen deaths totaled 21 per 100,000 in 2010, an improvement from 26 per 100,000 in 2005. The national number was 26 per 100,000 in 2010.

-Teen births have gone down from 31 per 1,000 in 2005 to 27 per 1,000 in 2010. The national number was 34 per 1,000 in 2010.