Fight against poverty

NC Child County Data Cards

New data indicators to watch as the pandemic unfolds for kids

Blog by: Whitney Tucker, Acting Policy Director at NC Child

Before COVID-19 struck, nearly half of children in North Carolina lived in a family that was struggling with poverty, according to new data released by NC Child. Now, many more families are having a hard time meeting their children’s basic needs. The annual County Data Cards highlight 15 key indicators of child well-being that elected officials should track, and respond to, in their communities.

When parents lose income or lose their jobs, that can bring along a cascade of other traumatic events for children. Losing your home, skipping meals, or having a parent struggling with depression, can add up to long-term consequences for kids. State and local officials can do much to prevent long-term harm for kids by investing in the programs that are proven to insulate families against the harmful effects of poverty, such as Medicaid, SNAP, WIC, and early childhood programs.

These are a few of the benchmarks that officials in Wayne County should watch. Before the pandemic hit:

  • 23.5% of children in Wayne county lived in families that struggled to put nutritious food on the table.
  • In Wayne county, 50.9% of third-grade students were reading on grade level in 2018-19, compared to 57% statewide. Whether children are reading on grade level when they reach the third grade is an important predictor of future school success and lifetime earnings.
  • The infant mortality rate in Wayne county in 2018 was 11 deaths for every 1,000 live births, compared with 6.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births statewide. While this new statewide low is an important milestone, mortality rates remain much higher among Black families and those with lower incomes.

You can view the complete Data Cards for all 100 counties at NC Child’s website:

601 Royall Ave.
Goldsboro, NC 27534