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 state 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 compared to national averages. The profile begins with a demographic description of the state’s babies and families to offer the broadest context for exploring what may be very different experiences of the state’s youngest children.

Demographics

Kentucky
National Average

Infants and toddlers in Kentucky

Kentucky is home to 160,287 babies, representing 3.6 percent of the state’s population. As many as 48.0 percent live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty line (in 2020, about $52,400 for a family of four), placing them at economic disadvantage. The state’s youngest children are diverse and are raised in a variety of family contexts and household structures.

Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
Race/ethnicity of infants and toddlers
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
White
Poverty status of infants and toddlers
Above Low-income
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black*
Hispanic*
Multiple Races*
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Low-income
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black*
Hispanic*
Multiple Races*
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
In Poverty
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black*
Hispanic*
Multiple Races*
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
150% SMI
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
Multiple Races*
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 85.0%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Infants and toddlers in poverty, by race
Black
Hispanic
Multiple Races
White
Percent Infant Toddler
Population Infant Toddler
Family Structure
Two Parents
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black*
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 85.3%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
One Parent
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black*
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 19.1%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
No Parent
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic*
Multiple Races
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 3.3%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Grandparent-headed households
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic*
Multiple Races
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 14.2%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Working Moms
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black*
Hispanic*
Multiple Races
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 55.3%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
No Working Parents
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: NA%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 14.7%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 8.7%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Living Outside of a Metro Area

*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.

Good Health

In Kentucky

How are Kentucky'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.

Kentucky falls in the Getting Started (G) tier for the Good Health domain. A state’s ranking is based on indicators of maternal and child health, including health care coverage, prenatal care, birth outcomes, and receipt of recommended preventive care as well as nutrition and mental health. Kentucky performs better than national averages on key indicators, such as the percentages of uninsured babies in families with low income and babies with a medical home. The state is performing worse than national averages on indicators such as the percentages of babies breastfed at 6 months and mothers reporting less than favorable mental health.

Key Indicators of Good Health

Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
Kentucky
National Avg
Eligibility limit (% FPL) for pregnant women in Medicaid
Uninsured low-income infants and toddlers
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 6.8%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 3.7%
Urban
Rural
Medical home
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 56.0%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 59.6%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Infants ever breastfed
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 76.9%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic*
Multiple Races
Other*
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 81.6%
Low Income
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Infants breastfed at 6 months
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 45.0%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic*
Multiple Races
Other*
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 54.2%
Low Income
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
High weight-for-length
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 18.7%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian/Pacific-Islander
Black
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
WIC Coverage
Late or no prenatal care received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 19.7%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 6.3%
Urban
Rural
Mothers reporting less than optimal mental health
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 29.6%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 40.5%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Babies born preterm
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 14.5%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 11.9%
Urban
Rural
Babies with low birthweight
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 14.5%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 8.9%
Urban
Rural
Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births)
Preventive medical care received
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 88.0%
Low Income*
Above Low Income*
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Preventive dental care received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 24.6%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 30.8%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Received recommended vaccines
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 68.7%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White*
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 71.5%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Good Health Policy in Kentucky
Medicaid expansion state
Yes
CHIP maternal coverage for unborn child option
No
Postpartum extension of Medicaid coverage
No law beyond mandatory 60 days
Pregnant workers protection
Limited coverage: State employees and private employees with exceptions
State Medicaid policy for maternal depression screening in well-child visits
Recommended
Medicaid plan covers social-emotional screening for young children
No
Medicaid plan covers IECMH services at home
Yes
Medicaid plan covers IECMH services at pediatric/family medicine practices
Yes
Medicaid plan covers IECMH services in early childhood education settings
Yes
Note: N/A indicates Not Available
All Good Health Indicators for Kentucky
State Indicator
National Avg
Health Care Coverage and Affordability
Eligibility limit (% FPL) for pregnant women in Medicaid
200.0
200.0
Uninsured low-income infants and toddlers
3.8%
5.1%
Medical home
54.7%
51.5%
Nutrition
Infants ever breastfed
73.3%
84.2%
Infants breastfed at 6 months
42.4%
56.8%
High weight-for-length
16.5%
NA
WIC coverage
100.0%
97.8%
Maternal Health
Late or no prenatal care received
6.1%
6.4%
Maternal mortality rate (deaths per 100,000 live births)
NA
20.1
Mothers reporting less than optimal mental health
30.4%
21.9%
Children’s Health
Babies born preterm
11.3%
10.2%
Babies with low birthweight
8.7%
8.3%
Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births)
5.0
5.6
Preventive dental care received
27.6%
34.5%
Preventive medical care received
85.8%
91.1%
Received recommended vaccines
69.6%
72.7%
Note: N/A indicates Not Available.

Strong Families

In Kentucky

How are Kentucky'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 families with low income and in historically marginalized communities of color face additional challenges that impact their babies’ immediate and future well-being. Many policies can be designed to address these disparities by race, ethnicity, and income, including the provision of safe and stable housing, home visiting services, family-friendly employer policies, economic support for families with low income, and tax credits that benefit families with young children.

Kentucky falls in the Reaching Forward (R) tier of states when it comes to indicators of Strong Families. The state’s ranking in this domain reflects indicators on which it is performing better than the national average, such as the percentages of babies living in crowded housing and babies who exit foster care in less than 12 months. Kentucky is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the percentages of babies who experience food insecurity and the infant/toddler maltreatment rate.

Key Indicators of Strong Families

Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
Kentucky
National Avg
TANF benefits receipt among families in poverty
Housing instability
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 4.0%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 6.1%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Crowded housing
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 26.2%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian*
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other*
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 15.2%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 10.2%
Urban
Rural
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Unsafe neighborhoods
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 3.6%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 6.1%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Low or very low food security
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 19.3%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White*
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 25.0%
Urban*
Rural*
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Family resilience
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 88.2%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 90.3%
Low Income
Above Low Income
1 adverse childhood experience
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 21.0%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 28.2%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
2 or more adverse childhood experiences
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 7.7%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 16.1%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Infant/toddler maltreatment rate (per 1,000 children ages 0-2)
Removed from home
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0
Max: 14.0
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Time in out-of-home placement
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 48.2%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Permanency: Adopted
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 20.1%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Permanency: Guardian
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 0%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Permanency: Relative
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 48.4%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Permanency: Reunified
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 39.7%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Potential home visiting beneficiaries served
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Strong Families Policy in Kentucky
Paid family leave
No
Paid sick time that covers care for child
No
TANF work exemption
No
State child tax credit
No
State Earned Income Tax Credit
No
Note: N/A indicates Not Available
All Strong Families Indicators for Kentucky
State Indicator
National Avg
Basic Needs
TANF benefits receipt among families in poverty
18.2%
18.5%
Housing instability
3.8%
2.9%
Crowded housing
9.7%
15.4%
Unsafe neighborhoods
5.1%
5.2%
Low or very low food security
21.6%
14.9%
Child Well-being and Resilience
Family resilience
88.4%
84.9%
1 adverse childhood experience
21.9%
19.6%
2 or more adverse childhood experiences
11.5%
7.3%
Infant/toddler maltreatment rate (per 1,000 children ages 0-2)
35.8
15.9
Removed from home
11.4
7.1
Time in out-of-home placement
0.4%
%
Permanency: Adopted
20.5%
34.6%
Permanency: Guardian
NA
8.3%
Permanency: Relative
47.3%
7.8%
Permanency: Reunified
31.9%
48.1%
Potential home visiting beneficiaries served
3.7%
2.1%
Note: N/A indicates Not Available.

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

In Kentucky

How are Kentucky'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 babies’ 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.

Kentucky scores in the Reaching Forward (R) tier for Positive Early Learning Experiences. The state’s ranking in this domain reflects indicators on which it is performing better than the national average, such as the higher percentage of babies in families below 100 percent of the federal poverty line with access to Early Head Start. Kentucky is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the lower percentage of infants and toddlers who received a developmental screening. Beginning with the 2022 profile, infant care costs as a percentage of the state’s median income for single and married parents are not factored into the ranking.

Key Indicators of Positive Early Learning Experiences

Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
Kentucky
National Avg
Parent reads to baby every day
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 40.4%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 42.9%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Parent sings to baby every day
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 62.6%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 68.7%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
% Income-eligible infants/toddlers with Early Head Start access
Low/moderate income infants/toddlers in CCDF funded-care
Cost of care, as % of income married families
Cost of care, as % of income single parents
Developmental screening received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 26.9%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 34.0%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Percentage of infants/toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services
*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.
Positive Early Learning Experiences Policy in Kentucky
Adult/child ratio
EHS Standards met for 0 of 3 age groups
Level of teacher qualification required by the state beyond a high school diploma
No
Group size
EHS Standards met for 0 of 3 age groups
Infant/toddler professional credential
No
Families above 200% of FPL eligible for child care subsidy
No
Allocated CCDBG funds
Yes
State reimburses center-based child care
No
At-risk children included in Part C eligibility definition
No
Note: N/A indicates Not Available
All Positive Early Learning Experiences Indicators for Kentucky
State Indicator
National Avg
Activities that Support Early Learning
Parent reads to baby every day
37.9%
36.8%
Parent sings to baby every day
62.3%
57.3%
Access to Early Learning Programs
% Income-eligible infants/toddlers with Early Head Start access
16.0%
11.0%
Low/moderate income infants/toddlers in CCDF-funded care
5.4%
4.6%
Cost of care, as % of income married families
8.6%
NA
Cost of care, as % of income single parents
32.2%
NA
Early Intervention
Developmental screening received
26.5%
33.8%
Percentage of infants/toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services
7.2%
7.2%
Timeliness of Part C services
99.0%
NA
Note: N/A indicates Not Available.
Not Ranked
This indicator does not factor into the category's GROW ranking.
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