Covington County drops to 50th out of 67 counties in quality of life it provides for its children

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A new report has shown that not only has the well being of Alabama’s children dropped but Covington County’s, as well.

The report released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks Alabama 44th in the nation in quality of life it provides for its children.

According to VOICES for Alabama’s Children, Covington County ranks 50th out of the 67 counties in Alabama in accommodating the well being of its children.

These nine indicators were used to determine the overall county rankings due to their high correlation to each other and are considered to be among the strongest indicators available for measuring child well being:

  • Low birth weight.
  • Births to teens aged 15 to 17 per 1,000.
  • Children participating in First Class Pre-K.
  • Fourth grade reading proficiency.
  • Teens not in school and not working.
  • Children in poverty.
  • Medicaid paid births.
  • Child food insecurity.
  • Unemployment rate.

In low birth weight, Covington County had 40 with an 8.9 percent rate. The State of Alabama had 10.3 percent.

In births to teens aged 15-17 (per thousand), they had 15 with a 21.7 percent rate. The State of Alabama had 13.

In children participating in first class pre-K, Covington County had 198, which is 41.9 percent. The State of Alabama had 31.8 percent.

In fourth grade reading proficiency, Covington County had 38.6 percent. The State of Alabama had 40.2 percent.

In teens not in school and not working, Covington County had 227, which is 13.4 percent. The State of Alabama had 22,329 teens, which is 8.6 percent.

Covington County had 2,373 children in poverty, which is 29.3 percent. The State of Alabama has 289,382, which is 26.5 percent.

In Medicaid paid births, Covington County had 249, which is 55.5 percent. The State of Alabama had 29,845, which is 50.5 percent.

In child food insecurity, Covington County had 2,100 children, which is 25.3 percent. The State of Alabama had 247,140, which is 22.5 percent.

The unemployment rate in Covington County was 820 people, which is 5.2 percent. The State of Alabama had 129,833 unemployed, which is 6.0 percent.

Executive director of the Covington County Children’s Policy Council Coalition said that she is majorly concerned with the decreasing rank.

“We are continually getting worse,” Short said. “I remember a time when we were at our highest rank and that was 43.”

She said that several people are just not aware of the situation.

“Most of us are not aware,” Short said. “If they were aware, then they would be interested in doing whatever we can to improve our county for the children, because this is just pretty sad.”

Covington County Commission Chairman Greg White said that all focus is on improving and enhancing the quality of life in Covington County.

“These numbers tell me that we have a lot of work left to do,” White said.

He said that improving Covington County’s education results is going to be key to increasing overall numbers.

“Many of these factors are driven by births from lower educated moms,” White said. “It includes low birth weights and giving prenatal care. So, I am hoping over the next several years that the county commission, along with our cities, can work closely with our school boards to push our academic standards forward.”

Covington Counties neighboring counties are ranked:

  • Escambia: 57
  • Conecuh: 64
  • Butler: 53
  • Crenshaw: 46
  • Geneva: 42
  • Coffee: 12

Number one in the state was Shelby County and 67 in the state was Wilcox County.