This month the Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual Kids Count report, a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the United States. The report details that the national rate of children living in poverty is 11 percent for white children, 36 percent for African Americans and Native Americans and 28 percent for Hispanics.

The South and Southwest continue to have the highest percentage of children living in poverty. The state with the best child well-being ranking is New Hampshire, followed by Minnesota and Massachusetts. The three states at the bottom of the rankings are Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The overall ranking map (see graphic) also reflects significant regional overtones. Except for Maine and Rhode Island, all of the New England states rank in the top 10. In the Northern Plains, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin are all ranked in the top 12. At the other end of the spectrum, states in the South and Southwest dominate the lower part of the ranking. The 12 states with the lowest overall rank in terms of child well-being are all located in the South or Southwest.

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Other key findings include:

* Low-birthweight babies
Lowest (percentage): Alaska, Oregon, Washington (6.1 percent)
Highest: Mississippi (11.8 percent)

* Infant mortality
Lowest: Utah (4.5 deaths per 1,000 live births)
Highest: Mississippi (11.3 deaths per 1,000 live births)

* Child death rate
Lowest: New Hampshire (8 deaths per 100,00 children ages 1-14)
Highest: Louisiana (34 deaths per 100,000 children ages 1-14)

* Teen death rate
Lowest: Hawaii (37 deaths per 100,000 teens ages 15-19)
Highest: Louisiana, Wyoming (103 deaths per 100,000 teens ages 15-19)

* High school dropout
Lowest: North Dakota (3 percent)
Highest: Louisiana (11 percent)

* Children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment.
Lowest: North Dakota (24 percent)
Highest: Louisiana (43 percent)

* Children living in poverty
Lowest: Maryland, New Hampshire (10 percent)
Highest: Mississippi (30 percent)

* Children living in single-parent households
Lowest: Utah (18 percent)
Highest: Mississippi (45 percent)

For more information by state, check out the Kids Count Data Center.