HARTFORD, CT — Connecticut generally ranks high for children’s and families’ economic, education, and health outcomes in an annual survey, but dig a little deeper using race and ethnicity and the numbers begin to change says a policy analyst with the Connecticut Association for Human Services.
Emmanuel Adero said the Annie Casey Foundation’s Kids Count profile of Connecticut, which uses data from a number of state and local organizations to come up with its national rankings, “paint a good picture of the state overall,” but the information doesn’t tell the whole story.
Connecticut ranked 5th overall in the Casey Foundation state rankings in 2016. In 2015 Connecticut was ranked 6th overall.
“This national ranking is likely skewed by our demographics: according to the 2015 Kids Count 5-year estimates, Connecticut is 69 percent non-Hispanic White (the country is 62 percent), and the median income is $70,331 ($54,000 is the national median),” Adero said. “A statewide view therefore cannot capture the experiences or barriers of all children in the state.”
In opening up a discussion on the report at a recent session at the Legislative Office Building, Adero said “Connecticut looks great in the Casey report. It captures Connecticut well – but it’s at 10,000 feet. It is a statewide ranking.”
Adero said “both affluence and poverty are geographically concentrated in Connecticut. The towns along the South-Western border (the “Gold Coast”) collectively and individually boast the highest median incomes in the state,” Adero said, “whereas the largest cities have the highest poverty levels in the state.”
A new report named “Race Equity in the Five Connecticuts” compared wealthy, suburban, rural, and urban core and peripheral regions of the state along 13 indicators, to explore the roles that both race and place play in shaping our families’ experiences.
The report finds consistent trends in what it terms the “five Connecticuts.”
Those trends include:
—The wealthy and suburban residents generally recorded the highest rates of positive outcomes for overall rates of school attendance and graduation, children’s rates of insurance coverage and parental education;
—The urban core and urban periphery had the highest rates of child poverty, youth disconnection, teen births, low-birthweight births, as well as the lowest rates of 4th grade reading proficiency;
—rural parts of Connecticut were closer to the urban areas than the wealthy and suburban areas, and this region had the lowest rate of parents with secure employment.
The report also found consistent disparities in race, including: black students are suspended and expelled at three and four times the rate of non-Hispanic White students in everyone of the five regions identified in the report.
Of children under 200 percent of poverty level, Hispanic children have the highest rates of any group in all but one of the five “Connecticuts”; and, White and Asian children have the highest rates of positive outcomes across all measures.