Southwest retains low rankings in child welfare

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Southwest continues to earn dismal marks for child well-being, with New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada ranking in the bottom five of an annual national report card on education, health care and poverty.

New Mexico, which last year booted Mississippi from last place, moved back up to 49th in this year's Kids Count Data Book. The report cited a slight drop in child poverty, improvements in high school graduation rates and a drop in the teenage birth rate.

Mississippi fell back to the bottom in the annual report from Annie E. Casey Foundation. Nevada came in at 48th, mostly because of the number of children living in poverty, and Louisiana ranked 47th despite a number of across-the board improvements.

Arizona rounded out the bottom five as the report says its rate of children living in poverty has increased and support for programs to help has dropped significantly.

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