Study: Here are the best, worst Gwinnett cities for child well-being

Newly released research from the United Way of Greater Atlanta found that the metro area ranks among the lowest in the nation for child well-being, but most zip codes in Gwinnett County have average-to-high rankings.

The two zip codes in Gwinnett County with the highest rankings are 30097 — which straddles Duluth in Gwinnett County and Johns Creek in north Fulton County — and 30017, which encompasses Grayson.

The Duluth zip code scored an 86.9 out of 100 for overall child well-being, the highest score in Gwinnett County. Grayson scored 81.8.

The scores evaluate zip codes in 13 metro Atlanta counties, measuring factors including poverty rate, household income change and population change to determine how an area will contribute to the well-being of a child living there.

The lowest-scoring zip codes both covered Norcross. The 30093 zip code scored lowest, with 23.7 points out of a possible 100. The neighboring 30071 zip code scored 44.8.

The overall child well-being score is 58.9, the United Way research says.

A panel including Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dan Kaufman and Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen discussed the research Wednesday morning.

Low rankings indicate that children in those communities may be reading below grade level at higher rates than children elsewhere, or have lower economic mobility as adults. Often, many issues converge for children in these situations, according to Ginneh Baugh, an associate vice president for the United Way of Greater Atlanta.

"There were so many children living in places where they were struggling with not one issue or two issues, but many issues overlaying each other,” Baugh said at the Wednesday morning presentation.

In Gwinnett County, the needs have changed over the past few years, Kaufman said, as the county has had a drastic demographic shift.

“Twenty-five years ago, Gwinnett County was 90 percent white,” Kaufman said. “Now, we’re majority-minority.”

That shift has dramatically increased the demands for things like English as a second language courses in schools that help level the playing field for children who have grown up speaking a different language, Kaufman said.

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