Louisiana ranks 48th in overall child well-being, according to the KIDS COUNT Data Book released by the Agenda for Children. KIDS COUNT Coordinator Theresa Falgoust says the Bayou State ranks 47th in education, which examined three and four year olds who don’t go to school, and 4th graders who are below proficient in reading.

“We also saw out eighth grade math proficiency rate ranking 49th among all states, and we actually got worse on that measure since 2009,” Falgoust said.

Unfortunately, the Bayou State saw an increase in the child and teen death rate, and despite improvement in teens not in school and not working, Louisiana still came in dead last because other states have improved more.

But Falgoust says Louisiana did improve in several areas. She says more parents have high school diplomas and full-time year-round employment, and fewer babies are born at low birthweights. She says the Bayou State improved in 8 out of 16 measures.

“One of our biggest improvements was in our fourth grade reading proficiency rate, and Louisiana actually improved more than any other state except Utah in that measure,” Falgoust said.

Falgoust says another positive is that 96 percent of children now have health insurance. That means Louisiana is below the national average child uninsured rate of 5 percent. She says this could lead to improvements in overall child health.

“We’re optimistic that as more and more adults get health insurance that we will see adult health outcomes improve, which then helps reduce things like our low birthweight rate because we know that health moms tend to have healthy babies,” Falgoust said.