Minnesota was ranked fourth in the United States when it comes to child well-being, according to an annual index released Monday.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzed federal data on economic well-being, education, health and family and community. It found New Hampshire ranked first, and New Mexico ranked last.
Minnesota has been one of the top five best states for kids for a decade, but Stephanie Hogenson, of the Children's Defense Fund Minnesota says there's been a continual increase in child poverty since 2000.
"We really have lost so much ground since the beginning of the decade. There's been a 70 percent increase in child poverty since 2000 and over the last year it was just a slight increase so we do see the economic recovery improving but the gains aren't enough to make up for the increase that we've seen over the past few years."
One in seven children lives in poverty in Minnesota. Nationally, that number is closer to one in four.
Minnesota was seventh in the nation for education. Massachusetts ranked first.
Hogenson says the state saw improvements in the number of children attending pre-school and those graduating from high school on time. But she notes that 65 percent of Minnesota fourth graders are not proficient in reading.
"It's a concern for us that there's a lower percent of fourth-graders ready to read, because we know that by fourth grade, you're no longer learning to read, you're reading to learn," she said. "If you're not meeting those reading standards in fourth grade then you are just more likely to fall farther and farther behind."