It’s a mixed bag in terms of economic well-being for Indiana’s children. The Hoosier State worsened in two of four areas in the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2015 KIDS Count report.
In 2013, 30-percent of Hoosier kids’ parents lacked secure employment, compared to 28-percent in 2008. That’s despite the state’s unemployment rate dropping to pre-recession levels.
“Even though people are working, they’re still not financially stable,” says Indiana University Southeast sociology professor Melissa Fry. She says too much of the state's recent job growth has been in low-wage positions. And she says employment instability means a greater likelihood a child might be left unsupervised or struggle at school.
“Those living below the poverty line are at greater risk for poor nutrition and potentially for poor sleep habits that may be about spending time with mom and dad after they get home from work," she says. "You might be going to bed late because mom doesn’t get off her shift until 10 o’clock.”
Indiana ranks close to the middle of the pack for children’s economic well-being, coming in at number 23. North Dakota ranks first and Mississippi last.