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ZERO TO THREE Releases the Fifth Annual State of Babies Yearbook: 2023

The data shows America’s babies are increasingly diverse and that poverty and disparities in access to resources continue to be defining features of a baby’s experience.  

Media Contact:  Joe Weedon
[email protected] 

WASHINGTON, DC – For the fifth consecutive year, ZERO TO THREE, the nation’s leading early development nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, has released the State of Babies Yearbook: 2023. This comprehensive report is a resource designed to give policymakers and advocates critical data needed to inform and implement strong policies to support parents and caregivers in nurturing the youngest children. The report highlights key data showing infants and toddlers face increasing challenges related to income inequality, housing, child care, physical health and mental health.  

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2023 finds: 

  • The United States is home to 11 million babies who comprise 3.4 percent of the nation’s population, approximately 900,000 fewer babies than 5 years ago. 
  • 52% of America’s babies are of color – making babies more diverse than at any other point in our nation’s history. 
  • Two million infants and toddlers in this country are living in poverty and 38.9% of babies live in low income or impoverished households. 
  • 14.2% of households with infants and toddlers are food insecure. 
  • 15.2% of infants and toddlers live in crowded housing. 
  • 10.1% of babies are born preterm, while the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 5.4. 
  • 25.8% of babies and toddlers have lived through at least one adverse childhood experience, leaving them vulnerable to physical or mental health conditions. 

Babies have unlimited potential and every baby deserves the opportunity to thrive,” said Miriam Calderón, Chief Policy Officer of ZERO TO THREE. “The data confirm that many families with infants and toddlers in conditions that science tells us can have a detrimental impact on healthy development. 

“The pandemic is over, but for millions of babies and their families, the state of emergency continues. The Yearbook is far more than a collection of data and insights; it’s a fervent call to action to stand as champions for change,” Calderón continued. “We stand at a crossroads of policy and possibility. We are asking Congress, the Biden Administration and state leaders step up with lasting commitments to support young children and families. Urgent action is needed if we are going to make progress on the systemic challenges that babies and families, particularly our babies of color and those experiencing low incomes face.” 

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2023 highlights five public policy areas where, if bold action is taken, can dramatically improve outcomes for babies across America. These policy areas are:  

  • The Crisis in Maternal and Infant Health.  
  • Seizing the Opportunity to Promote Positive Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health.  
  • A Commitment to Early Care and Education as a Public Good. 
  • The Hidden Developmental Threat of Unstable Housing.  
  • The Economic Insecurity That Engulfs Many Babies.  

The Yearbook compiles more than 90 indicators – specifically for children ages 0 to 3 – to measure support for babies and their families. States are evaluated against these indicators and grouped into four tiers that represent progress toward implementation of policies that improve outcomes for babies. The data reveal that the states that are making progress include Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.  

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2023 is available at www.StateofBabies.org. 

If you want to connect with representatives from ZERO TO THREE or with families impacted by issues highlighted in the report, please contact Joe Weedon at 202-277-9410 or [email protected]. 

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