Janine Pease: Our Indian children in Montana continue to fall behind

Janine Pease. Photo from Montana State University

Janine Pease, a professor and founding president at Little Bighorn College in Montana, shares the latest data from Kids Count, which shows that Indian children in Montana lag behind their counterparts when it comes to economic, education and other factors:
In economic well-being, Montana ranks 19th. Here are the Montana numbers, followed by the national statistic and the national statistic for American Indian children.

Children in poverty: Montana 19 percent, national average 22 percent, Indian children 36 percent.
Children whose parents lack secure employment: Montana 29 percent, national average 30 percent, Indian children 48 percent
Children living in households with a high housing cost burden: Montana 27 percent, nationally 35 percent, Indian 32 percent
Teens not in school and not working: Montana 7 percent, national average 7 percent, Indian teens 13 percent.

Montana ranks 24th in education, according to these factors:
Children not attending preschool: 61 percent in Montana, 53 percent nationally, and 57 percent for American Indian children
Fourth graders not proficient in reading: 63 percent in Montana, 65 percent nationally and 78 percent of Indian students
Eighth graders not proficient in math: 62 percent of Montana students, 68 percent nationally, and 81 percent of Indian students
High school students not graduating on time: 15 percent in Montana, 18 percent nationally and 32 percent of Indian students.

Nationally, health showed improvements in all four chosen indicators. Montana ranks 39th in health. Here's the Montana numbers and the national American Indian data.

Low birth-weight babies: Montana 7.4 percent, national average 8 percent, Indian babies 7.6 percent.
Children without health insurance: Montana 8 percent, nationally 6 percent, Indian children 14 percent
Child and teen deaths per 100,000: Montana 29, nationally 24, Indian youth 25
Teens who abuse alcohol or drugs: Montana 6 percent, national average 5 percent, Indian teens 5

Montana ranks 16th in family and community indicators.

Children in families where the household head lacks a high school diploma: Montana 7 percent, national average 14 percent, Indian households 17 percent
Teen births per 1000: Montana 26, nationally 24, Indian teens 27.
Children in single-parent families: Montana 30 percent, nationally 35 percent, Indian children 53 percent
Children living in high-poverty areas: Montana 7 percent, nationally 14 percent, Indian children 31 percent

Get the Story:
Janine Pease: Baawaa’lilaau Gives Advice: Trends in Montana children's well-being (The Billings Gazette 7/30)

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