ST. PAUL — A recently published study from Save the Children finds that over the last four months of 2020, Minnesota consistently ranked first in the nation for children amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using four months of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, the Save the Children’s COVID Child Protection Ranking identifies where children have been most and least protected during the COVID-19 pandemic, finding that Minnesota has continually ranked first in protecting children from hunger, learning loss, and financial stress.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of Minnesotans across the state, but it has hit our working families and their children the hardest,” said Governor Tim Walz. “While we are proud that in this report Minnesota has consistently ranked first in the nation for families during the pandemic, we have work to do. We know that Minnesota children still face unacceptably high disparities in race and income. Our children are our future, and we must continue to invest in their success to emerge from this crisis stronger than before.”

“There is no more important investment than in our children,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Supporting our littlest Minnesotans and their families with a focus on equity has been foundational to our COVID-19 response and remains our top priority.”

Recognizing the realities iterated in the report that lower income and BIPOC families have been hit hardest by the pandemic, the Walz-Flanagan Administration has provided state and federal resources to increase student access to technology and summer school; support the mental health needs of children, youth, and families; provide resources for Minnesotans struggling to afford nutritious food for themselves and their families; provide financial support and flexibility to child care providers; prioritize testing and vaccine access for child care programs and educators; and help working families experiencing financial losses due to COVID-19. Additionally, Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget prioritizes working families and students, confronting the challenges Minnesota children and families face today while investing in the future.

According to Save the Children’s study, the U.S. Census Bureau conducts a bi-weekly Household Pulse Survey to understand the social and economic effects of COVID. Save the Children analyzed this data, focusing on households with children under the age of 18, or families. To access the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, the COVID Child Protection Ranking uses three indicators: food scarcity, lack of access to tools for remote learning, and difficulty paying for household expenses. Save the Children assessed where children have been most and least protected during COVID-19 to illustrate how disparate the effects of COVID-19 have been on families. They also evaluated how racial and income inequality impacts families nationally and within each state.

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