CHARLESTON — The latest KIDS COUNT numbers are out, looking at where kids are getting the best chance for a good life in the Mountain State and areas where there is serious need for improvement.
Low birth weight and poverty are two of the biggest indicators of childhood health.
The latest KIDS COUNT data book looked at four areas: economic well-being, education, health and family and community.
The survey shows that it’s more challenging to be a kid in the southern part of the state where there is a great deal of economic turmoil.
The rate of female smokers is also a major factor.
“The main cause of low birth-weight babies is our incredibly high rate, of pregnancy smoking in West Virginia. And we’re working to advocate for the passage of a tobacco tax, because we know that a significant tobacco tax discourages women from smoking while pregnant,” KIDS COUNT Executive Director Laura Gandee said.
Gandee said the panhandle areas of the state are doing the best. Where there is economic growth, good things are happening for kids.
The top five counties for well-being in the Mountain State are Pendleton, Jefferson, Monongalia, Putnam and Ohio counties, in that order.
The five worst counties, according to the survey, are Wyoming, Logan, Lincoln, Mingo and McDowell counties.
Lawmakers said the challenge is improving numbers in those counties.