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County ranks low in well-being of children

When it comes to Tennessee children, Warren County ranks 79th out of 95 counties in overall well-being.

The rankings were released Monday by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. The profiles include county-by-county breakdowns, primarily from 2020, and county ranks in important areas affecting child development.

The rankings come based on an assortment of factors and includes:

• Overall health

• Math and reading skills

• Poverty rate

• Abuse and neglect cases

• Births to unmarried mothers

“At 79th, Warren County ranks in the bottom fourth of Tennessee counties in child well-being,” the report noted. “The county’s best rankings include a below average rate of school suspensions and low housing costs. The county’s biggest opportunities for improvement include having a high percentage of children without health insurance and a high rate of substantiated cases of abuse or neglect.”

The overwhelming positive is housing remains very affordable in Warren County, well below the state average. The median sale price for a home here is $155,000. The state median is way higher at $244,900.

Also, the fair market rent in Warren County is $844, which ranks 13th best in the state.

Median household income is in the upper half. It’s $49,532 in Warren County, 45th best in the state.

Warren County had some poor categories. In terms of overall child health, the county ranks 86th. The category includes factors such as children without health insurance, low birth weight, and child and teen deaths per 100,000.

In the percentage of children committed to state custody per 1,000, Warren County’s rate was 7.1%, which ranks 88th. The state average is 2.9%. 

In the all-important category of education, Warren County ranks 70th. That includes a high school graduation rate of 90.7%, which is 61st. Only 23.8% of children in grades 3-8 were determined to read proficiently.

Warren County’s reading score ranks 64th and its math score ranks 66th.

Williamson County was ranked No. 1 in the state. The county was tops in both its reading and math scores, and also No. 1 in median household income at $118,257.

Madison County, in which Jackson is the county seat, ranks last at 95th. Madison County was dragged down by abysmal education scores and rampant child poverty.