Study Indicates Economic Downturn Hurt Wyoming Kids

Jun 19, 2017

Credit The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Wyoming’s child well-being rank dropped from 12th to 27th nationally according to this year’s Kids Count Data Book put out by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Samin Dadelahi is the Chief Operating Officer for the Wyoming Community Foundation, which provided some of the data. She said since the newest report uses data from 2015, what the lower ranking reflects is the impact of Wyoming’s economic downturn on kids.

Dadelahi said she expects that trend to continue.

“The most recent economic forecast in Wyoming based on 2016 numbers showed that we were stabilizing but our 2017 legislature had another round of budget cuts that were passed through the state,” Dadelahi said. “And so that trickle-down effect through the entire state is still going to be seen.”

The overall score is based off data in four key areas, and Wyoming saw declines across the board. Dadelahi said, “the biggest thing that you can see is we dropped from number one in economic well-being to number 11.”

In addition to economic well-being, the study looked at education, where Wyoming dropped from 18th to 29th. For family and community, the state went from 7th to 15th.  

Of particular concern to Dadelahi was child well-being when it comes to health, and in that area, Wyoming went from 48th to last place. She said when the economy is strong, “We have more children that have access to health insurance and when the economy shifts some of those benefited positions go away.”

Dadelahi said these shifts point to a need for policymakers to figure out how to provide essential services to kids, even when the economy is in decline.