(02/03/2005)
By Bob Weaver

Pendleton County ranked the best in the 2004 Kid's Count study regarding the well-being of children who are entering school. Calhoun ranked 41st.

The study includes several key indicators of school readiness, which showed West Virginia lags behind the national averages in six of nine areas.

The state ranked 42nd in the nation, slightly above southern states like Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The study found that 29% of school-age WV kids(children under five) live in poverty, a full 10% higher than the national average.

Nearly 40% of WV kids (children under five) live in high poverty neighborhoods, compared to 23% nationwide.

One-in-four (25%) of WV kids by age two have not received the proper immunizations.

Calhoun's numbers in several areas have improved during the past ten years, but many have remained static.

Calhoun's ranking in specific areas among the 55 counties, one being best and 55 being worst:

- Percent of low-birth babies (9.5%) ranked 21 of 55

- Infant deaths at birth (3%) ranked 3 of 55

- Child death rate ages 1-14, ranked 44 of 55

- Percent of eligible children served by Head Start (46.7%) ranked 47 of 55

- Percent of children approved for free/reduced school meals (65.2%) ranked 50 of 55

- Child abuse or neglect rate (11.2 per thousand kids) ranked 19 or 55

- Teen birth rate, ages 15-19 per thousand at 57.4, ranked 50 of 55.

- Percent of births to unmarried teens ages 10-19 (13.9%) ranked 54 of 55

- Percent of high school dropouts (22.4%) ranked 51 of 55

- Juvenile delinquency case rate ages 10-21 per 1000, 4.4 individuals, ranked 10 of 55

- Teen violent deaths, ages 15-19 per thousand (0%) ranked 1 of 55

- Percent of births to mothers with less than 12th grade education (28.1%) ranking 53 of 55 counties.

OTHER CALHOUN FACTS:

Population (2003) 7,294, a loss of 591 since 1990.

Education expenditures per pupil (2003) $8,126

Percent of all families with related children who receive cash assistance (2003) 7.7%

Percent of births with early prenatal care (2000-2002) 80.6%

Unemployment rate (2003) 16.2%

Total population under 18 (2003) 1,503 or 20.6% of county population

Percent of minority population (2003) 1.2%

Percent of children in poverty (2002) 33.5% or 499 children (1990 it was 37.1%)

Median family income $26,701 (2000)

Percent of children in single-parenting families (2000) 20% or 307 children

Number of children under age 3 living in county 63 (2003) Number of children under age 4 living in county 77 (2003)

The Kids Count study will soon be available on-line at www.wvkidscountfund.org


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