Alabama ranks among nation’s worst for places to have baby, child well-being

As a pediatrician, Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health, says poverty is one of the main reason why Alabama ranks so low
(WALB)
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 8:21 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama is ranked among the worst states - if not the worst - when it comes to places in the United States for giving birth or raising children.

A new study by personal finance website WalletHub pegs the state 51st, dead last when factoring in Washington, D.C., when it comes to places to have a baby. Many other Southern states fared just as poorly with Mississippi 50th and Georgia 47th, as shown in the WalletHub map below.

Source: WalletHub

Additionally, The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its 2022 Kids Count Data Book, which also shows Alabama continuing to rank low when it comes to a child’s well-being.

The Data Book uses 16 indicators and ranks each state across four domains: health, education, economic well-being and family and community. Alabama saw improvements in 11 of the 16 indicators, remained the same in two, and got worse in three. The state did see improvements in all four indicators in the economic well-being and family and community domains, though it got worse in three of the four health indicators.

“It would be great if we ranked higher, but the reality is we have never ranked higher than 44th,” said Rhonda Mann, director of VOICES for Alabama’s Children, in references to the Kids Count findings. Mann notes that among the Casey Foundation’s data, low birth weight rates have increased in the last 10 years.

As a pediatrician, Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health, says poverty is one of the main reason why Alabama ranks so low in these indicators. “We have a lot of initiatives in Alabama that we are continuing to take to try to address this,” said Landers.

One of those initiatives includes enrolling mothers in Alabama’s Medicaid program, which offers prenatal care, “so that women can have coverage during pregnancy and healthy outcomes for their baby,” Landers added.

Other issues that drag down the state’s ranking include substance abuse and the lack of medical care in rural areas.

“There are hospitals that do not have delivery services and this does require women to travel to other counties, not only seek prenatal care, which is vitally important to a good pregnancy outcome, but also at the time of delivery,” said Landers.

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