Study: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana the worst states for children during pandemic

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Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana are among the worst states for children during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from Save the Children. 

The study ranks states using a combination of factors including child hunger, access to technology for remote learning and adult difficulty with paying bills each month.

Under those criteria, Texas ranked 48th, Mississippi 49th and Louisiana 50th. 

Access to technology for remote learning was especially important in 2020 as many schools had all students online making the switch from in-person learning to Zoom classes that required good access to an internet connection.

“The digital divide is largest in West Virginia, where 40% of families do not always have internet available for school. The rate is over one-third in Montana, Oklahoma and Texas,” the study says.

Black and Hispanic students and households struggled more than White students and households in all of the criteria, according to the study.

Overall, the study found that the poorest families and those in rural areas were hit the hardest by the pandemic.

“They are about 15 times as likely to struggle with hunger as the wealthiest families, 4 times as likely to lack internet for educational purposes and 9 times as likely to have difficulty paying bills,” according to the study.

Across the country, 25 percent of students didn’t have the tools they needed for online learning and 69 percent of households struggled with bills. 

Over five months in 2020, Mississippi and Louisiana were consistently in the bottom 10 for best states for families. 

The best states for children to be in during the pandemic included Minnesota, Utah and Washington. 

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