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Women's History Month: State of Babies

Following up on our post on maternal mortality in the United States, we wanted to take a look at the state of babies. Fortunately, thanks to a recent report, there is great new data on the state of babies in the US and how babies fare in the state of Wyoming.


The national profile of our nation’s infants and toddlers signals significant shifts toward great diversity as well as some early warnings that we are not giving infants and toddlers the ingredients they need to thrive. Here are just a few of the stats gathered in the latest national report:

  • 1 in 4 American babies lives in poverty

  • 45 percent live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty level.

  • 21 percent live with a single parent.

  • 9 percent live in grandparent-headed households.

  • 61 percent have mothers in the work force.

  • Nearly half of children under the age of 3 receive medical coverage through Medicaid, and those covered have better long-term health, educational, and employment outcomes than those who were uninsured.

  • As many as one in 12 babies (8.2 percent) is born at low birthweight, which can jeopardize development.

  • Nationally, 2.5 percent of babies experience housing instability (i.e., have moved three or more times since birth). A higher proportion, 15.6 percent, live in crowded housing.

Read the overview here and the full yearbook here. And read on for a snapshot of Wyoming's rankings.

Overall

Wyoming is home to 22,242 infants and toddlers, representing 3.8 percent of the state’s population. As many as 34 percent live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty level (in 2017, about $50,000 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. A broad array of policies and services are required to ensure that all of them have an equitable start in life.


Good Health

Wyoming falls in the Getting Started (G) tier of states when it comes to the overall health of infants and toddlers. The state’s low ranking in the Good Health domain primarily reflects indicators of food security, as well as health care access and affordability. Wyoming’s Medicaid plan covers early childhood mental health services in home settings, pediatric/family medicine practices, and early care and education programs.


Strong Families

Wyoming falls in the Getting Started (G) tier of states when it comes to indicators of strong families. The state’s low ranking in this domain reflects most indicators of access to basic needs and supports, child welfare, and home visiting. However, Wyoming has a lower infant/toddler maltreatment rate and a lower percentage of young children living in crowded housing compared to other states, which places the state in the Improving Outcomes (O) tier for these indicators.


Positive Early Learning Experiences

Wyoming scores in the Reaching Forward (R) tier of states when considering key indicators related to early care and education and early intervention for infants and toddlers. The state’s low ranking in the Positive Early Learning Experiences domain is primarily due to indicators such as the percentage of parents reading to their babies daily, and the percentage of young children with a moderate/severe developmental delay. Wyoming has a relatively higher percentage of eligible infants and toddlers receiving IDEA Part C services, in comparison to other states.


There are numerous places that lend themselves well to governmental support - in the form of new and better legislation and departmental focus - as well as efforts from local government, private industry, and our local communities. We'll be putting forward suggestions in the coming weeks and months and asking you to get involved.