The valley so low

The Great Valley Center, a nonprofit tasked with improving the valley through grants and special programs that will shape public policy, this month released a report on Youth Preparedness and Education, something it studies every five years. Below are some statistics revealed about the five counties referred to as the North Valley: Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Shasta and Tehama. The data is drawn for various sources, and refers to 2000, 2001 or 2002.

* Butte is one of only three valley counties with 30 percent or more of its children in single-parent families. Colusa is the lowest statewide, at 19 percent.

* Colusa also has the lowest rate of substantiated child maltreatment referrals, at 11.7 per 1,000 children. Butte has 20.1, and Kern leads with 24.1 per 1,000.

* Butte is one of seven counties with the highest rate of children in foster care in the valley.

* In Butte County, 22 percent of children live in poverty. The state’s child poverty rate is 18 percent.

* Butte has the lowest rate in the North Valley region of “disconnected youths.” Only 6 percent of teens are neither employed nor in school. Colusa’s is the highest at 16 percent.

* Colusa hosts 41 percent English Language Learners compared to Butte’s 11 percent.

* In Butte County, 28 percent of high schoool seniors took the S.A.T.

* The North Valley has the lowest rate of dental insurance for children, at 72 percent.

* Twenty-eight percent of fifth, seventh and ninth graders in Butte County are obese (judged by body fat percentage), which is one of the lowest rates in the valley.

* Butte has a low rate of babies born weighing less than 5.5 pounds: 5.4 percent.