Kids Count: Fewer children here, but they’re more diverse

Published 12:21 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

Kids Count data released for Covington County this week shows that Covington County’s population has grown slightly since 2000, but that the child population is slightly lower and the demographics are changing as well.

Overall, Covington County is ranked 48 out of 67 states for child well-being.



According to the demographics, Covington County had 37,835 people in the county in 2015 up from 37,640 in 2000.

There were 9,137 children in the county in 2015, compared to 9,852 in 2000.

The only age range to see growth was children under age 5, where there were 2,260 children compared to 2,226 in 2000.

Ages 5-9 had 187 fewer children in 2015 than 2000.

In the 10-14 range, there were 258 children less in 2015 than 2000, and in the 15-19 there were 304 children less.

The diversity of children is changing, as well.

In 2000, there were 7,986 children categorized as white. 2015’s number was nearly 1,000 less at 6,989.

There were 81 fewer African American children at 1,546.

All other demographics saw increases:

  • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 51, up from 45 in 2000;
  • Asian/Pacific Islander: 49, up from 15 in 2000;
  • More than one race: 307, up from 71 in 2000; and
  • Hispanic: 195, up from 97 in 2000.

Covington County is consistent with the state and nation in terms of its population being much older and more diverse.

“Although the state’s population increased more than 9 percent from 2000-2015, the child population declined by more than 2 percent during the same time frame. This means the state’s future workforce will be smaller in number and have the added burden of caring for a larger aging society,” the report said.

Additionally, as Alabama’s child population continues to decline, the report says that the Hispanic population continues to grow and is the fastest growing among all races.



The data also showed that births to unmarried teens were down in 2003-2014, the latest data readily available.

In 2003, there were 56 total births and in 2014 there were 46.

Breaking it down demographically, there were 39 births in 2003 to white teens and 33 in 2014; there were 17 births to black teens in 2003 and 12 in 2014. There was one birth to a Hispanic teen in 2014, but no data for 2003. There were none in for other races in 2014. The 2003, data for other was subsumed in the other categories.

“The data indicate a positive direction in several health measures,” the report says. “For example, the percentage of children born to teen mothers has fallen steadily since 2006. The percentage of pre-term births has also steadily declined over the past decade as more mothers are able to carry and deliver full-term babies.”



Data also shows that 126 children in seven classroom throughout the county participated in the First Class Pre-K program for 2016-2017, and that there are 10 Early Head Start/Head Start classrooms in Covington County.

“Despite the continuing challenges of educational outcomes, positive changes in Alabama are beginning to change the narrative,” the report said. “One glowing example is Alabama’s First Class Pre-K program, which has almost doubled the number of children served from the previous year and currently serves 25 percent of Alabama 4-year-olds. Alabama’s First Class Pre-K has been shown to close achievement gaps by as much as 25 percent for low-income children participating in the program.”

As of July 2016, there were 20 childcare facilities in the county.

  • Family Child Care Homes: 2
  • Group Child Care Homes: 6
  • Licensed Providers: 10;
  • Exempt centers: 2

The report also said in the last 16 years, the state has seen a steady decline in the number of licensed child care centers and a 50 percent increase in the number of license exempt centers.

On the high school end of things, the Kids Count for Covington County also showed the average ACT scores for 11th graders in 2014-2015.

  • English: 17;
  • Math: 17;
  • Reading: 18;
  • Science: 18; and
  • Composite: 18



Data shows that the number of children with indication of abuse or neglect has increased from 2004 to 2015.

2004 numbers indicate the rate was 5.8 up to 14.6 in 2015.

The juvenile violent crime court petition rate has also increased from 2.3 to 5.2 in 2015.

Children in foster care increased from three in 2010 to 46 in 2016.

The preventable death rate in Covington County increased from 38.6 to 40.3 in 2014.

“Vehicular fatalities remains the leading cause of preventable deaths of both children and teens, and Alabama is currently the second worst state in the nation for teen driver fatalities,” the report said.

Teens not attending school or not working declined from 13.8 percent in 2000 to 12.8 percent from 2010-2014.

The number of children adopted grew staggeringly from 2010 to 2016.

There were no adoptions in 2010 and there were 11 in 2016.




The number of people living in poverty in Covington County has increased since 2000.

In 2000, there were 6,838 people living in poverty here. That number increased to 7,479 for 2010-2014.

The number of children living in poverty also increased.

There were 2,437 children living in poverty in 2014 and 2,104 in 2000.


  • 1,544 white children were in poverty in 2014, compared to 2,104 in 2000;
  • 746 black children were in poverty in 2014, compared to 702 in 2000;
  • All other races: 38 were in poverty in 2014, compared to 69 in 2000;
  • Hispanic: 21 in 2014 and 64 in 2000.