A new report by the Kid's Count Data Center exposes some of the better and worse elements of what life in Montana is like for children.

One of the brighter aspects of the report is the category of economic well-being where Montana ranked 15th overall.

"There has been an improvement in the percentage of children who live in families where no parent has secure employment," said Montana Kid's Count Data Center Director Thale Dillon."It is down to 30 percent from 33 percent. 67,000 children, approximately, live in families where their parents do not have secure employment."

Another bright spot was education, where Montana pulled out ahead of 37 other states to take 13th place. Helping Montana in this aspect was an increase in the number of children who attend preschool and better math proficiency for eighth graders.

On the other hand, one of the report's dark spots was childhood health, where Montana landed at the very bottom of the list.

"It has to do with our high rates of childhood and teen deaths and our high rates of alcohol and substance abuse among youth," said Dillon. "By far the highest contributor to that death rate is traffic related deaths."

Montana actually improved in the substance abuse category from 12 percent to 10 percent of the state's youth abusing either alcohol or another controlled substance. Though 10 percent is an improvement, it is still far higher than the national average.

Thale Dillon: