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.

Explore Wisconsin’s Sub-Reports

Demographics

Wisconsin
National Average
Infants and toddlers in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is home to 194,213 babies, representing 3.3 percent of the state’s population. As many as 37.0 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. The state’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

*Numbers are small; use caution in interpreting.

Good Health

In Wisconsin
How are Wisconsin’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.

Wisconsin falls in the Reaching Forward (R) 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 food security, nutrition, and mental health. Wisconsin performs better than national averages on key indicators, such as the percentages of babies breastfed at 6 months and babies receiving recommended vaccinations. The state is performing worse than national averages on indicators such as the percentages of mothers reporting less than favorable mental health and babies receiving preventive dental care.

Key Indicators of Good Health
Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
Wisconsin
National Avg
Uninsured low-income infants/toddlers
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 22.1%
American Indian/Alaska Native*
Asian
Black
Hispanic
Other
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 7.6%
Urban
Rural
Ever breastfed
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 94.2%
Black
Hispanic*
Other*
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 92.7%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Infants breastfed at 6 months
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 72.3%
Black
Hispanic*
Other*
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 74.5%
Low Income
Above Low Income
High weight-for-length
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 22.9%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Late or no prenatal care received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 8.1%
Black
Hispanic
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 5.0%
Urban
Rural
Mothers reporting less than optimal mental health
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 28.4%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White*
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 33.7%
Low Income*
Above Low Income*
Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births)
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0
Max: 15
American Indian/Alaska Native
Black
Hispanic
White
Babies with low birthweight
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 16.1%
Black
Hispanic
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 8.1%
Urban
Rural
Preterm births
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 15.6%
Black
Hispanic
White
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 10.2%
Urban
Rural
Preventative medical care received
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 91.4%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
Preventative dental care received
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 23.0%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 32.4%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
Received recommended vaccines
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 84.8%
Black
Hispanic*
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 85.4%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Medical home
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 58.3%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 63.0%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
Good Health Policy in Wisconsin
Medicaid expansion state
No
State Medicaid policy for maternal depression screening in well-child visits
Allowed
Medicaid plan covers social-emotional screening for young children
Yes
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
Pregnant workers protection
No protections
Postpartum extension of Medicaid coverage
No law beyond mandatory 60 days
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Applicable
All Good Health Indicators for Wisconsin
State Indicator
National Avg
Eligibility limit (% FPL) for pregnant women in Medicaid
306
200
Uninsured low-income infants/toddlers
6.0%
5.1%
Low or very low food security
16.7%
13.7%
Infants ever breastfed
87.4%
83.6%
Infants breastfed at 6 months
59.9%
55.1%
WIC coverage
74.1%
79.3%
High weight-for-length
14.0%
N/A
Late or no prenatal care received
4.0%
6.2%
Mothers reporting less than optimal mental health
27.0%
20.3%
Infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births)
6.1
5.7
Babies with low birthweight
7.7%
8.3%
Preterm births
9.9%
10.0%
Preventive medical care received
87.8%
91.1%
Preventive dental care received
26.3%
33.0%
Received recommended vaccines
78.7%
72.8%
Medical home
53.4%
51.0%
Maternal mortality
N/A
17.4
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Available.

Strong Families

In Wisconsin
How are Wisconsin’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. 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.

Wisconsin falls in the Improving Outcomes (O) 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 parents who report being resilient. Wisconsin is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the percentages of babies who have had one adverse experience and babies experiencing housing insecurity (moved 3 or more times).

Key Indicators of Strong Families
Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
Wisconsin
National Avg
TANF benefits receipt among families in poverty
Housing instability
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 3.8%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 6.7%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Crowded housing
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 27.6%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
Other
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 18.7%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Urbanicity
Min: 0%
Max: 9.9%
Urban
Rural
Unsafe neighborhoods
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 1.7%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 3.6%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Family resilience
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 89.4%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 90.6%
Low Income
Above Low Income
1 adverse childhood experience
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 15.9%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 40.7%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
2+ adverse childhood experiences
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 7.6%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 12.1%
Low Income
Above Low Income
Infant/toddler maltreatment rate
Time in out-of-home placement
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 28.0%
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Multiple Races
Removed from home (per 1,000 infants/toddlers)
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0
Max: 42.2
American Indian/Alaska Native
Asian
Black
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Multiple Races
White
Strong Families Policy in Wisconsin
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 (EITC)
Yes
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Applicable
All Strong Families Indicators for Wisconsin
State Indicator
National Avg
TANF benefits receipt among families in poverty
22.6%
21.7%
Housing instability
2.9%
2.6%
Crowded housing
9.8%
15.5%
Unsafe neighborhoods
2.2%
4.9%
Family resilience
88.8%
85.3%
One adverse childhood experience
22.7%
20.7%
Two or more adverse childhood experiences
6.4%
7.7%
Infant/toddler maltreatment rate
6.4
16.4
Out of home placements
20.6%
18.7%
Permanency Achieved: Reunified
58.4%
48.1%
Potential home visiting beneficiaries served
2.2%
2.0%
Permanency Achieved: Relative
N/A
7.8%
Infants/toddlers exiting foster care to permanency
99.1%
98.8%
Permanency Achieved: Guardian
16.7%
8.3%
Removed from home
7.1
7.1
Permanency Achieved: Adoption
23.1%
34.6%
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
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 Wisconsin
How are Wisconsin’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.

Wisconsin 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 parents who read to their child every day. Wisconsin is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the lower percentage of infants and toddlers with family incomes equal to or below 150 percent of the state median income who are receiving a child care subsidy. Infant care costs as a percentage of the state’s median income for single and married parents also contribute to the ranking.

Key Indicators of Positive Early Learning Experiences
Click Plus symbol to see selected indicators by subgroup.
Wisconsin
National Avg
Parent reads to baby every day
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 44.2%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 46.5%
Low Income*
Above Low Income
Parent sings to baby every day
Race/Ethnicity
Min: 0%
Max: 57.0%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 62.3%
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: 41.7%
Asian
Black
Hispanic
White
Income
Min: 0%
Max: 44.4%
Low Income*
Above Low Income*
Percentage of infants/toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services
Positive Early Learning Experiences Policy in Wisconsin
Infant eligibility level for child care subsidy above 200% of FPL
No
Allocated CCDBG funds
Yes
Group size requirements meet or exceed EHS standards
2 of 3 age groups
Adult/child ratio requirements meet or exceed EHS standards
2 of 3 age groups
Level of teacher qualification required by the state
No credential beyond a high school diploma
Infant/toddler credential adopted
Yes
State reimburses center based child care at/above 75th percentile of market rates
No
State includes "at-risk" children as eligible for IDEA Part C services or reports that they serve “at-risk” children
No
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Applicable
All Positive Early Learning Experiences Indicators for Wisconsin
State Indicator
National Avg
Parent reads to baby every day
43.4%
37.2%
Parent sings to baby every day
56.7%
57.4%
Percentage of income-eligible infants/toddlers with Early Head Start access
16.0%
11.0%
Cost of care, as % of income married families
13.4%
N/A
Cost of care, as % of income single parents
47.9%
N/A
Low/moderate income infants/toddlers in CCDF funded-care
3.5%
4.2%
Developmental screening received
37.5%
32.5%
Infants/toddlers with developmental delay
0.5%
1.1%
Percentage of infants/toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services
6.5%
6.8%
Timeliness of Part C services
99.2%
N/A
†This indicator is not factored into the GROW tier rankings.
Note: N/A indicates Not Available.
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