You remember the Arkansas state motto, don't you? "Thank God for Mississippi."
There’s long-standing evidence that certain states in a certain region always rank last in indicators of children's well-being – from health, to education, to family income. You name something good to be achieved in this country and you will find certain areas of the country never seem to measure up.
The other day, we talked about the www.diversitydata.org Web site were you can profile and compare each of 331 metro areas according to basic standards of wellness. It is a little more detailed than the established Kids' Count annual report. Another set of data was released Jan. 25 by an advocacy group called "Every Child Matters Education Fund," a name that does indicate what its agenda is.
But numbers are numbers, and if you are a child living in one of the 10 lowest- ranked states, you have double the chance of dying by age 14 than if you live in one of the 10 highest-ranked states.
What do the rankings tell us? That the disparity is 95 percent due to color. Not black, white or brown. Look at the 2004 presidential election map and see if you can start picking out the top states for kids to grow up in.