2023 MS KIDS COUNT Factbook

The Children’s Foundation of Mississippi (CFM) is pleased to present the 2023 Mississippi KIDS COUNT Factbook. The CFM believes that for Mississippi to reach its potential, Mississippi’s children and youth must reach their potential.

Nationally, and at the individual state level, KIDS COUNT has continued to be recognized as a premiere data source on children, youth, and families for more than three decades. In the recent Mississippi Senate Special Study Committee on Women, Children, and Families, several presenters cited Mississippi KIDS COUNT data and other research findings of the CFM. We are delighted to be a recognized source of information for Mississippi. KIDS COUNT can be used to gauge important changes in metrics for children, families, and communities.

Nationally, KIDS COUNT data is presented across the following four domains, with four indicators under each domain for a total of 16 indicators.


• Young children (ages 3 and 4) not in school

• Fourth graders not proficient in reading

• Eighth graders not proficient in math

• High school students not graduating on time


• Babies with low birth weight

• Children without health insurance

• Child and teen deaths per 100,000

• Children and teens (ages 10-17) who are overweight or obese

Economic Well-Being

• Children in poverty

• Children whose parents lack secure employment

• Children living in households with a high housing cost


• Teens not in school and not working

Family and Community

• Children in single-parent families

• Children in families where the household head lacks a high

school diploma

• Children living in high-poverty areas

• Teen births per 1,000

Even though Mississippi ranks 48th overall in the state-bystate comparisons, Mississippi has improved on 14 of the 16 indicators (August 2022). Each of the 16 indicators serves as an important gauge by which Mississippi’s counties and the state as a whole can track changes. Compared to other states, the two indicators that have not improved include child and teen death rates and percentage of young children not in school. Please see page 6 on how Mississippi ranks with other states across the Southeast.

For most of the indicators, it would only take a modest change to be closer to the southeastern average. The policy recommendations in the KIDS COUNT Factbook and the CFM’s Blueprints (I and II), can help “turn the curve”

for better outcomes on behalf of Mississippi’s children, families, and communities. Mounting research demonstrates that experiences during the earliest years of a child’s life are strong predictors of their future growth and development. It is also important to recognize that each child is part of a larger system. When children experience trauma, their health, cognitive development, and interpersonal relationships later in life suffer. In this factbook, we take a more in-depth look at some factors that demonstrate the importance of family and communities in children’s lives. We know from the CFM’s Risk and Reach report that there are great disparities among communities regarding resources and needs.

We encourage readers to visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center for more detailed information that can be used to tailor data reports among and across various geographical locations within Mississippi and across regions by age, race, and other demographics. If you or your organization would like a tutorial on using the Data Center, please contact the CFM at info@childrensfoundationms.org.