The 10 US states where kids are most at risk of ‘stolen childhoods’

On May 31, a day recognised as Children’s Day in the US, international NGO Save the Children released its “End of Childhood Index 2017.”

Using eight criteria, including factors like childhood mortality and rates of child labour, the organisation ranked the best and worst places for kids to grow up around the world.

Now it has released the complement to the global list: a state-by-state ranking of where US kids are at risk for “stolen childhoods,” or being forced to grow up quickly due to intensely negative life factors.

Save the Children measured each state according to five childhood “enders”: mortality rates, food insecurity rates, delayed high school graduation rates, homicide and suicide rates, and adolescent birth rates.

The ranking “focuses on some key rights or ‘guarantees’ of childhood: life, healthy growth and development, education and protection from harm,” the report states. “If a child experiences all of these, his/her childhood is considered to be “intact.'”

Here are the bottom 10:

41. Arizona

42. Nevada

43. Alabama

44. Arkansas

45. Alaska

46. Georgia

46. Oklahoma

48. New Mexico

49. Mississippi

50. Louisiana

Many of the worst-performing states have poor education levels and high levels of childhood mortality — some of the highest in the developed world. Richard Bland, national director of policy, advocacy and development at Save the Children, said he wasn’t surprised to see how the states ranked. While northeastern states like New Hampshire and Massachusetts always stand out as beneficial for kids, southern states do not.

“Our US programs are focused on rural America,” Bland told Business Insider. “It’s where we’ve been working for nearly a century.”

The top five states included New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, and Iowa. Virginia is the highest-performing southern state, in 8th, but the second-best doesn’t come until Texas, in 23rd place.