Study: Unicoi County ranks in bottom 10 for state’s child and adolescent deaths | WJHL
ERWIN, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Tennessee Commission on Childhood and Youth (TCCY) has published a profile that assesses the well-being of children in all 95 counties in the state, and News Channel 11 compiles the results from all counties in our service area .
Counties are stacked based on their overall z-score, meaning that counties that perform above average on certain key indicators are ranked higher in the list. The key indicators used in the ranking are on the first page of the TCCY profile, and the secondary indicators are on the following page.
Unicoi County Ranks 70 overall for child well-being, according to TCCY data, the lowest coverage area of News Channel 11.
Economic well-being – 55
22% of children and youth in Unicoi County lived in poverty in the 2020 TCCY sample year, ranking with the county 57 Location. Rents in the county were lower than most, with a fair market rent of $874 and a rank of 28. A low average household income compared to the rest of Germany can counteract these low housing costs $45,635 annually or 70 Location.
For secondary indicators 57.5% of children under five received WIC support in 2020. This number compared to the national average of 26.4%means only two other counties had higher percentages of children receiving the benefit 93.
Education – 57
The literacy and math skills of Grades 3-8 were below average in both categories, with literacy 61 rank and math in 52nd place. A 91.3% Graduation rate placed at Unicoi County 56 in the state.
The county recorded relatively low absenteeism across all systems, which set the secondary indicator to 24 in the state. An expulsion number of 0 means Unicoi County sits in a tie 1 Ranked with other counties that had no designated students in 2020.
It is important to note that these metrics are measured county-wide and make no distinction between city and county schools.
Health – 78
Child health is Unicoi County’s underperforming metric, according to TCCY data, which is largely informed by a high child and adolescent mortality rate of 87. A high percentage of the county’s children have health insurance, earning Unicoi County the rank 26. Nearly 10% of children born in 2020 were considered underweight, putting the county at one 75.
For secondary indicators, the TCCY data show this 19.2% of children born in 2020 were born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy, 76.4% higher than the national average. Unicoi County was the 5th highest ranking in lead poisoning screening given to children under the age of six over 22%.
Family & Community – 57
Unicoi County had one below average school dropout rate 42where the TCCY data indicates so 1.1% of students across the county were suspended during their 2019-2020 school year. at 6.7 out of 1,000 Children, Unicoi had a higher rate of reasonable abuse than the national average 60. The county’s lowest key indicator of family and community was the percentage of children born to unmarried women, ranked 76. TCCY data scientists told News Channel 11 that the 48.9% of Unicoi County’s children born to single mothers in 2020 have a higher chance of living in poverty.
Secondary indicators in the district show a high rate of reported cases of child abuse 201 in 2020, 37% higher than the national average. The percentage of children placed in government care was less than the half the state average placing Unicoi County 7 in the state.
The TCCY identified potential areas for improvement in its report, noting that Unicoi County ranks just above the bottom quartile of Tennessee counties for child welfare. To get a handle on the deaths of children and young people, the profile proposes introducing stricter safety enforcement for car seats, seat belts and other safety equipment. In addition, the TCCY stated that rising rates of infanticide and suicide could be addressed in part by proper home storage and security of firearms.
For single mother birth rates, the profile encourages the use of a comprehensive sex education program that encourages abstinence and explains the uses of contraception.
This is one story in a series. Stay tuned to WJHL.com and News Channel 11 for ongoing profiles of each Tennessee county in our service area.