Press Release
Facts at a Glance
Everyday in Oklahoma Partners
Kids Count Leadership
About OICA
Overview and Findings
Child Health
Economic Clusters
State Benchmarks
County Benchmarks
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Copyright 2005

Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
420 N.W. 13th Street
Suite 101
Oklahoma City 73103
Phone: 405-236-5437
Fax: 405-236-5439

More Oklahoma Kids Count Factbooks are available



Facts at a Glance (Parts One and Two)


Part One: Oklahoma's Children and Youth How are they doing?

The Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook provides accurate and up-to-date data on the status of Oklahoma's children and youth. Annually, the book tracks child well-being indicators for the state as a whole and for each of its 77 counties. (See page 8 and pages 25 through 31 of the 2005 Factbook for specific data on each of the twelve tracked indicators.)

The Good News The 2005 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook documents that eight of twelve indicators improved over the comparable data from the middle of the 1990s.

Births to Teens (to Young Teens, Older Teens, All Teens) About seventy-four hundred babies are born annually to Oklahoma women under the age of twenty. The progress made in decreasing the Oklahoma birth rate to teens is evident in the rates for nearly every county. Even so, with births to teens ages 15 through 19 ranked at forty-four, Oklahoma remains among the worst ten states in the nation during the most recent year compared.

Juvenile Violent Crime Arrests Each year almost twenty-five thousand criminal arrests involve juveniles. Just under a thousand Oklahoma youths from the ages of 10 through 17 are arrested each year for committing a violent crime. The proportion of Oklahoma youths arrested for violent crimes continues to improve from the record highs recorded during the 1990s. Oklahoma ranks in the best third of the nation on the portion of violent crimes for which a juvenile is arrested.

Infant Mortality Each year just under four hundred (388) babies born in Oklahoma do not live to see their first birthday. Today, proportionately fewer Oklahoma babies die in their first year of life than did in the mid-1990s. Ranking in the bottom half of all the states, Oklahoma's rate of infant death is only fair relative to other parts of the country. Oklahoma's rank among the fifty states is 38th during the most recent year.

Mortality (Child Death, Teen Death, Child and Teen Death) More than four hundred youth die each year. Half are children; half are teens. Currently, youth in every age group die at rates lower than they did in the mid-1990s. Even though improved in recent years, Oklahoma's rankings of child and teen death for the most recent year compared are in the worst half of all states (34th in child death; 37th in teen death).

The Bad News The 2005 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook documents that three of twelve indicators worsened over the comparable data from the middle of the 1990s.

Low and Very Low Birthweight Infants (under 5 lbs, under 3 lbs, 5 oz) Each year almost four thousand Oklahoma babies are born too small. The lower the birthweight, the greater the harm. A higher proportion of Oklahoma babies are born too small today as compared to those born in the mid-1990s. Oklahoma's rate of low birthweight infants remains average relative to other parts of the country. Oklahoma is ranked 27th among the fifty states during the most recent year compared.

Child Abuse and Neglect Oklahoma Department of Human Services investigate almost fifty thousand incidents each year that contain allegations of serious or immediate threats to a child's safety. On average, OKDHS substantiates that over thirteen thousand of those incidents are abuse and/or neglect. Fortunately, the record high rate of child abuse and/or neglect posted in Oklahoma during the late 1990s has declined substantially. Unfortunately, today's rates still remain above those recorded before the rates peaked in the late 1990s. Oklahoma ranks in the bottom half of all states (39th) in the rate of child abuse and neglect the state substantiates per 1000 children in the state.

Because of a recent change in the methodology used to calculate Oklahoma high school dropout rates the 2005 Factbook cannot offer a comparison over time. Oklahoma's high school dropout rate averages 3.7% during the most recent three-year period. Almost eight thousand young Oklahomans quit school without graduating each year.


Part Two: A State Focus A Picture of Child Health in Oklahoma

Good or bad health starts before birth. Health is dynamic for a child. Health status at each stage of development impacts a child's well-being at the next stage and further defines their future, and ours. Good health allows a child to learn, to participate, to develop and grow into a healthy, productive adult. The 2005 Oklahoma KIDS COUNT Factbook takes a look at the physical and emotional health and development of the state's children. (See pages 9 through 23 of the 2005 Factbook for more specific data on the health of children in Oklahoma.)

Access to Health Care
• Financing Health Care
• Health Resources

Each year seventeen thousand Oklahoma children fail to receive all the health care they need.

Three of every five Oklahoma children do not have a "medical home," a place with a primary care provider where the child consistently receives all needed care and at least one preventive care visit during the most recent year. Among children needing prescription medications, almost ten thousand do not receive them. Among children needing mental health care, thirty thousand do not receive it.

For every one thousand Oklahomans, there are fewer than two physicians, just over twelve nurses and less than one dentist.

One in five Oklahoma children have no insurance or were not insured for some period during the last year, compared to on in seven nationally.

Under combined Oklahoma Medicaid and SCHIP eligibility, just under half of Oklahoma's children are eligible for public insurance.

More then thirty-two thousand additional Oklahoma children could be covered if income eligibility were raised from 185% to 200% of the federal poverty level.

Factors Influencing Child Health
• Nutrition and Exercise
• Preventive and Routine Health Care
• Alcohol and Other Drugs
• Unhealthy Adolescent Behavior
• Perinatal Care
• Air Quality Standards
• Lead Exposure
• Immunizations
• Secondhand Smoke

For Oklahomans, obesity has become the second most preventable cause of death. Since 1980, obesity has doubled among children and tripled among adolescents.

Each year, there are almost a thousand arrests for drug and alcohol-related offenses for every 100,000 Oklahoma juveniles ages 10 through 17.

Lead remains the number one environmental hazard for children in Oklahoma. Five of every ten thousand Oklahoma infants and toddlers (ages 6 to 72 months) have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

The smoking habits of Oklahomans expose children to harm. Two in five children live in households where someone smokes.

Oklahoma children are less likely to receive preventive and routine care than other children around the nation. During the past year, one in four Oklahoma children received no preventive medical care.

Over one-third of Oklahoma children have not received the recommended course of vaccinations by the age of two.

Women who receive regular high quality care during pregnancy are more likely to have healthier babies and less likely to deliver prematurely or have serious pregnancy-related problems. In Oklahoma, two of every five expectant mothers fail to receive the prenatal care that is recommended to be adequate.

The Physical and Emotional Status of Oklahoma's Children
• Physical Health
• Disease Deaths of Children and Youth
• Mental Health, Emotional and Behavioral Health
• Dental Health
• Childhood Disabilities
• Race, Ethnicity and Child Health

Over eighty-thousand (9.6%) Oklahoma children have a moderate or severe health problem.

One in ten children (9.1%) are impaired by a serious mental health problem.

Tooth decay (dental caries) is the most common childhood disease. Oklahoma children have particularly poor oral health.

One in four Oklahoma children between the ages of 1 and 5 is at moderate or high risk for developmental delay. More than thirty-five thousand Oklahoma children from the ages of 5 through 15 have a disability. Ranking 38th with 6.4% of 5 through 15-year-old children having at least one disability, Oklahoma is in the worse half of all states.

Every year an average of one hundred and forty-four Oklahoma children and youth ages 1 through 19 die from disease.

While most Oklahoma children are very healthy (86.3%), significant and disturbing differences occur by race and ethnicity. Rates of excellent or very good health plummet for Hispanic (63.3%) and African American (78.5%) Oklahoma children.