New Report Finds Large Disparities Between Mississippi Children
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A report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds children in Mississippi do not have the same opportunity to become economically successful adults as kids in the rest of the nation. MPB's Paul Boger reports African Americans are especially hard hit.
 
The study looks at 12 factors ranging from educational issues to economic ones, and then ranks kids success from 0 to 1000 -- 0 being the worst; 1000 the best. Linda Southward with Mississippi Kids Count -- a research arm of the Annie E. Casey Foundation -- says African Americans in Mississippi faired the worst.
 
"When we look at a state by state comparison of African American children, for example, the score is 243 out of a possible 1000." said Southward. "When you look at a comparison of white children, Mississippi ranks at 559. So in either category we are not doing well at all. It's a very wide gap."
 
One reasons African American children faired so poorly is due to the high poverty rate in Mississippi. Southward says history has a lot to do with it.
 
"The disparities between African Americans and white in Mississippi there clearly continues to be lasting effects of what we call structural impediments." said Southward. "Things that have been established by local state and federal governments, and they continue to negatively impact the success of children."
 
Oleta Fitzgerald with the Children's Defense Fund believes children can be boosted out of poverty if there were better jobs in the state.
 
"We need to look at ways to try and bring in jobs that pay higher wages." said Fitzgerald. "We need to look at increasing the minimum wage. So families are able to take care of themselves. We got to invest more in the individual".
 
This is the first time the Annie E Casey Foundation has published a report that has broken down childhood well being and economic issues by race.