The numbers tell
a story of challenges
Andy Brack, publisher
25, 2011 Over the last three years, life in South Carolina
has gotten slightly but not significantly better
if you look at the latest demographic statistics.
some slight improvements, the state continues to have big challenges
in education, health care, poverty and crime. Fortunately, we're
not on the very bottom of most lists, as highlighted below:
South Carolina continues to lead the nation in violent crime,
according to a 2011
Census report based on 2007 data. Domestic violence
the number of women killed by men has dropped from seventh
worst to ninth worst at 1.69 deaths per 100,000, according to
South Carolina ranked second worst in its SAT scores in 2010,
according to the Commonwealth
Foundation. While this is a slight drop, this measure is questionable
because 18 of the 20 states with the best rates had participation
rates of 7 percent or less, while 66 percent of South Carolina's
students took the test. In other words, the cream of the crop
in the best states took the SAT, while a majority of South Carolina's
students did, which means comparisons are apples to oranges. On
a better note, South Carolina's teachers ranked best in
the nation in teacher quality, according to Education Week
magazine in 2010.
The state ranks fourth worst in the percentage of babies born
prematurely, the same ranking as a couple of years back. But in
an encouraging trend, the rate 14.3 percent is improved
by 1.3 percent, according to a March
of Dimes study.
South Carolina shows up fifth highest on three health measures:
Infant mortality. The rate is 8.6 infants per 1,000 infants
dying, according to 2007
data. Earlier, the state ranked fourth highest.
Low birthweight babies. Some 10.1 percent of Palmetto State
babies are born with low weights, according to a 2010
report from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Stroke. The state continues to rank fifth highest in stroke,
but the death rate has gone from 58.5 victims to 57.6 victims
per 100,000 people, according to the American
The state is the sixth worst place in the country for kids
to grow up in, according to a 2010
KidsCount report. Still, that's an improvement over the #5
ranking from two years ago.
The state comes in seventh twice:
Child deaths. South Carolina has the seventh highest rate of
child deaths at 25 per 100,000 children. That's four slots worse
than a couple of years ago, according to KidsCount.
Unemployment. In May, according to the Bureau
of Labor Statistics, South Carolina had a 10 percent unemployment
rate, almost twice what it was three years ago, but still better
than just a few months back.
The state is eighth on two big measures:
Tobacco prevention. SC is tied for eighth in how much money
it spent on tobacco prevention ($3.2 million a year, according
to a June
2010 report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.) The
good news? We used to be first. And the state's cigarette tax
(57 cents per pack) is no longer the lowest in the nation, which
averages $1.34 per pack.
Diabetes. Some 10 percent of South Carolina adults have been
told they have diabetes, the eighth highest average, according
to a recent report by the Trust
for America's Health.
The Palmetto State ranks ninth in two ways:
Obesity. Slightly under 30 percent of South Carolina's adults
are obese. That's better than the #7 ranking from two years
ago. Then, however, 28.4 percent of residents were obese. (More.)
Poverty. Some 15.7 percent of individuals in South Carolina
live in poverty, tied with Alabama, according to 2011 Census
data. But 22 percent of the state's children live in poverty,
the 11th highest number in the country.
about any way you cut the numbers, South Carolina still has a
long way to go. Policymakers should take note.
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