National Map

The State of America’s Babies

Where children are born can affect their chances for a strong start in life. Babies need Good Health, Strong Families, and Positive Early Learning Experiences to foster their healthy brain development and help them realize their full potential.

This national profile provides a snapshot of how infants, toddlers, and their families are faring in each of these three policy domains. Within each domain, view data for selected child, family, and policy indicators. The profile begins with a demographic description of the nation’s babies and families to offer the broadest context for exploring what may be very different experiences of the nation’s youngest children.

Demographics

U.S.
Infants and Toddlers in the United States

The United States is home to 11.5 million babies, representing 3.5 percent of the nation’s population. As many as 40.3 percent live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty line (in 2019, about $51,500 a year for a family of four), placing them at economic disadvantage. America’s youngest children are diverse and are raised in a variety of family contexts and household structures.

Race/ethnicity of infants and toddlers
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black
Hispanic
Other
Non-Hispanic Asian
American Indian/Alaska Native
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Multiple Races
Poverty status of infants and toddlers
Above Low-Income
Low-Income
In Poverty
Infants and toddlers in poverty, by race
Non-Hispanic Black
Hispanic
Non-Hispanic Other
Non-Hispanic White
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Multiple Races
Family structure
2-Parent Family
1-Parent Family
No Parents Present
Grandparent-headed households
Working Moms
Mothers in the Labor Force
No Working Parents
Rural/Non-metro area
Living Outside of a Metro Area

Good Health

How are U.S. babies faring in Good Health?

Supporting babies’ and mothers’ physical and mental health provides the foundation for infants’ lifelong physical, cognitive, emotional, and social well-being. Babies’ brains grow rapidly in the first years of life, and, in these early years, the brain works with other organs and organ systems to set the stage for subsequent development and health outcomes. Equitable access to good nutrition during the prenatal period and first years of life is key to ensure that babies receive the nourishment and care they need for a strong start in life. Strengthening equitable access to integrated, affordable maternal, pediatric, and family health care is also essential to meeting babies’ and families’ health and developmental needs.

National data in the Good Health domain include indicators of maternal and child health, including health care coverage, prenatal care, birth outcomes, and receipt of recommended preventive care as well as food security, nutrition, and mental health. National averages and state counts in these areas indicate that infants and toddlers as a whole are doing well or have made gains in areas such as high percentages completing routine medical visits, vaccinations, and low percentages of low-income infants and toddlers who are uninsured. However, as reflected in the subgroup views the profile includes for several indicators, these gains may not be shared by all groups.

Key Indicators of Good Health
Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
U.S.
Uninsured low-income infants/toddlers
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 12.5%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
Other
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 6.8%
Urban
Rural
Ever breastfed
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 86.2%
Black
Hispanic
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 89.3%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Infants breastfed at 6 months
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 60.1%
Black
Hispanic
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 65.7%
Low Income
Above Low Income
High weight-for-length
Late or no prenatal care received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 9.9%
Black
Hispanic
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 6.6%
Urban
Rural
Mothers reporting less than optimal mental health
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 21.7%
Asian*
Black*
Hispanic*
White*
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 24.6%
Low Income*
Above Low Income*
Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births)
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0
Max: 11.1
American Indian/Alaska Native
Black
Hispanic
White
Babies with low birthweight
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 14.1%
Black
Hispanic
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 8.3%
Urban
Rural
Preterm births
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 14.1%
Black
Hispanic
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 10.4%
Urban
Rural
Preventative medical care received
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 93.4%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Preventative dental care received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 39.3%
Asian*
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 35.9%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Received recommended vaccines
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 75.0%
Black
Hispanic
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 78.9%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Medical home
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 59.6%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 57.9%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Good Health Policy in America
Number of States
Medicaid expansion state
Yes
39
State Medicaid policy for maternal depression screening in well-child visits
  • Recommended 25
  • Allowed 12
  • No Policy 8
  • Required 6
Medicaid plan covers social-emotional screening for young children
Yes
43
Medicaid plan covers IECMH services at home
Yes
49
Medicaid plan covers IECMH services at pediatric/family medicine practices
Yes
46
Medicaid plan covers IECMH services in early childhood education settings
Yes
34
Pregnant workers protection
  • All employees covered (private and state) 5
  • State employees only 3
  • Limited coverage: State employees and private employees with exceptions 23
  • No protections 20
Postpartum extension of Medicaid coverage
  • No law beyond mandatory 60 days 45
  • Law covering all women for 1 year post-partum 1
  • Law covering either some women but not all, or all women but for less than 1 year 5
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Applicable
All Good Health Indicators
U.S.
Eligibility limit (% FPL) for pregnant women in Medicaid
200
Uninsured low-income infants/toddlers
5.1%
Low or very low food security
13.7%
Infants ever breastfed
83.6%
Infants breastfed at 6 months
55.1%
WIC coverage
79.3%
High weight-for-length
N/A
Late or no prenatal care received
6.2%
Mothers reporting less than optimal mental health
20.3%
Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births)
5.7
Babies with low birthweight
8.3%
Preterm births
10.0%
Preventive medical care received
91.1%
Preventive dental care received
33.0%
Received recommended vaccines
72.8%
Medical home
51.0%
Maternal mortality
17.4
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Available.

Strong Families

How are U.S. babies faring in Strong Families?

Young children develop in the context of their families, where stability, safety, and supportive relationships nurture their growth. All families may benefit from parenting supports, but children and families of color face numerous challenges as a result of racism that impact their everyday life, which are exacerbated even more for children and families living in households with low income.

National data in the Strong Families domain include indicators of child and family well-being, including resilience and adverse childhood experiences, basic needs, including housing circumstances and receipt of TANF benefits among families in poverty, and child welfare, including child maltreatment and movement of infants and toddlers into and out of the foster care system. National averages and state counts indicate that collectively babies and toddlers are doing well or have made small gains in areas such as low percentages living in unsafe neighborhoods and low percentages of children experiencing housing instability. However, as reflected in the subgroup views the profile includes for several indicators, these gains may not be shared by all groups.

Key Indicators of Strong Families
Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
U.S.
TANF benefits receipt among families in poverty
Housing instability
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 3.3%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 3.7%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Crowded housing
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 28.4%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 24.7%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 16.5%
Urban
Rural
Unsafe neighborhoods
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 7.5%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 6.7%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Family resilience
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 89.0%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 88.6%
Low Income
Above Low Income
1 adverse childhood experience
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 26.4%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 30.6%
Low Income
Above Low Income
2+ adverse childhood experiences
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 13.0%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 13.4%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Infant/toddler maltreatment rate
Time in out-of-home placement
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 27.5%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Multiple Races
Removed from home (per 1,000 infants/toddlers)
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0
Max: 20.7
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
White
Strong Families Policy in America
Number of States
Paid family leave
Yes
10
Paid sick time that covers care for child
Yes
12
TANF Work Exemption
Yes
24
State Child Tax Credit
Yes
6
State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Yes
30
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Applicable
All Strong Families Indicators
U.S.
TANF benefits receipt among families in poverty
21.7%
Housing instability
2.6%
Crowded housing
15.5%
Unsafe neighborhoods
4.9%
Family resilience
85.3%
One adverse childhood experience
20.7%
Two or more adverse childhood experiences
7.7%
Infant/toddler maltreatment rate
16.4
Out of home placements
18.7%
Permanency Achieved: Reunified
48.1%
Potential home visiting beneficiaries served
2.0%
Permanency Achieved: Relative
7.8%
Infants/toddlers exiting foster care to permanency
98.8%
Permanency Achieved: Guardian
8.3%
Removed from home
7.1
Permanency Achieved: Adoption
34.6%
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.

Use our interactive table to get a snapshot view of all states’ results on any Yearbook indicator in our three domains.

Compare Indicators Across States

Positive Early Learning Experiences

How are U.S. babies faring in Positive Early Learning Experiences?

Infants and toddlers learn through interactions with the significant adults in their lives and active exploration of enriching environments. The quality of infant and toddlers’ early learning experiences at home and in other care settings can impact their cognitive and social-emotional development, as well as early literacy. High-quality early childhood care can strengthen parents’ interactions with their children in the home learning environment and support parents’ ability to go to work or attend school. Equitable access to high-quality care across factors like race, ethnicity, and income ensures all infants and toddlers have the opportunity for optimal development; however, disparities in access to high-quality care remain across many states and communities in the United States.

National data in the Positive Early Learning Experiences domain include indicators related to child care quality, child exposure to learning experiences, and access to child care, in addition to the prevalence of developmental screenings and services. State averages indicate that babies and toddlers as a whole have made gains in developmental screenings. However, as reflected in the subgroup views the profile includes for several indicators, these gains may not be shared by all groups.

Key Indicators of Positive Early Learning Experiences
Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
U.S.
Parent reads to baby every day
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 45.4%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 43.8%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Parent sings to baby every day
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 64.5%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 63.0%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Percentage of income-eligible infants/toddlers with Early Head Start access
Cost of care, as % of income single parents
Cost of care, as % of income married families
Low/moderate income infants/toddlers in CCDF funded-care
Developmental screening received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 35.7%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 36.0%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Percentage of infants/toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services
Positive Early Learning Experiences Policy in America
Number of States
Infant eligibility level for child care subsidy above 200% of FPL
Yes
16
Allocated CCDBG funds
Yes
34
Group size requirements meet or exceed EHS standards for at least one age
  • Infants 16
  • Infants and Younger Toddlers 6
  • All age groups 1
Adult/child ratio requirements meet or exceed EHS standards for at least one age
  • Infants 21
  • Infants and Younger Toddlers 12
  • All age groups 2
Level of teacher qualification required by the state
  • CDA/state equivalent required 6
  • No credential beyond high school 45
Infant/toddler credential adopted
Yes
30
State reimburses center based child care at/above 75th percentile of market rates
Yes
4
State includes "at-risk" children as eligible for IDEA Part C services or reports that they serve “at-risk” children
Yes
6
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Applicable
All Positive Early Learning Experiences Indicators
U.S.
Parent reads to baby every day
37.2%
Parent sings to baby every day
57.4%
Percentage of income-eligible infants/toddlers with Early Head Start access
11.0%
Cost of care, as % of income married families
N/A
Cost of care, as % of income single parents
N/A
Low/moderate income infants/toddlers in CCDF funded-care
4.2%
Developmental screening received
32.5%
Infants/toddlers with developmental delay
1.1%
Percentage of infants/toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services
6.8%
Timeliness of Part C services
N/A
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Available.