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Toby Talbot, Associated Press
FILE- In this Feb. 3, 2010 file photo, students eat lunch at Sharon Elementary School in Sharon, Vt. Vermont ranks second in the country in an annual report of kids’ well-being. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count report released Monday shows improvements in eight areas like in the percentage of children with health insurance and fewer teen births but poverty continues to be a problem. Vermont fell slightly in the percentage of children with parents who lack secure employment to 29 percent. New Hampshire was the top-ranked state, followed by Vermont and Massachusetts. Nevada, Mississippi and New Mexico took the bottom three spots. Overall, Vermont ranked third in the country in education and family and community and fourth in health.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Military veteran David Hutchinson, his wife and two young daughters have been living at an Albuquerque homeless shelter for the past six months.

They are among many families in the U.S. that have been trying to raise children in the face of joblessness and homelessness.

An annual survey released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows the rate of children living in poverty increased to 23 percent in 2011.

The Southwest has been hit particularly hard. New Mexico, for the first time, has slipped to worst in the nation when it comes to child well-being.

New Mexico is followed in the rankings by Mississippi, Nevada and Arizona.

Overall, the report shows there have been gains in education and health nationally, but since 2005, there have been serious setbacks when it comes to the economic well-being of children.