Jan 10, 2024 - News

Report highlights racial disparities among Arkansas children

Illustration of an exclamation mark on a child play mat.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Children of all racial and ethnic groups are worse off in Arkansas than the rest of the nation on average, with the exception of American Indians or Alaskan Natives.

Driving the news: The Annie E. Casey Foundation released a report Wednesday detailing situations of children broken down by white; Black; Latino; Asian and Pacific Islander; American Indian and Alaskan Native; and children of two or more races.

How it works: The report takes into account 12 factors across four categories — early childhood, education and early work experiences, family resources and neighborhood context — that are likely to be critical to a child's overall well-being.

  • Those factors include: reading at or above a proficient level in fourth grade, babies born at normal birth weight, children who live in low-poverty areas and children who live in two-parent families.
  • The foundation gave each racial group a score on an index of up to 1,000.

Zoom in: In Arkansas, the foundation gave indicators for American Indians and Native Alaskans a score of 616, compared with 418 nationwide.

  • The foundation gave indicators for Arkansas' Black children a 299, compared with 386 nationwide. Indicators for Black children were the lowest in both the state and nationwide.
  • Indicators were the highest in the state for Asian and Pacific Islander children, followed by American Indian or Alaskan Native children, white children, children of two or more races, Latino children and Black children.

Zoom out: Nationwide, indicators for Asian and Pacific Islander children were the highest at 771, followed by white children, children of two or more races, Latino children, American Indian or Alaskan Native children, and Black children.

The big picture: The report highlights inequities among specific factors like:

  • Nationally, 93% of white children are born at a normal birth weight compared with 85.3% of Black children.
  • While 95% of white children and 91% of Asian or Pacific Islander children live with at least one householder who has a high school diploma, 72% of Latino children do so.
  • Black (42%), Latino (47%) and American Indian or Alaskan Native (43%) children are much less likely to live at or above 200% of the poverty level compared with white or Asian and Pacific Islander children. In both groups, 74% live at or above 200% of the poverty level.

Of note: The report includes more detailed data showing wide variation within racial groups. Among Latino groups, for example, 70% of Colombian children live at or above 200% of the poverty level compared with 35% of Guatemalan children.

  • Among children of two or more races, 90% of those with white and Asian Indian parents live at or above 200% of the poverty level compared to 53% of children with white and Black parents.

Flashback: Arkansas ranked 43 in the nation in child well-being, according to a 2023 report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios NW Arkansas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More NW Arkansas stories

No stories could be found

NW Arkansaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more