National Baby Facts from Zero To Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Nationally, almost half (48%) of children under age 3 live in low-income families (with an income less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)), including 25% that live in families in poverty (with an income less than 100% of the FPL). In a majority of states, at least one in four very young children lives in poverty. This fact shows the widespread lack of adequate resources needed for the healthy development of all infants and toddlers. Within the United States, Mississippi has the highest percentage of infants and toddlers living with families in poverty, at 35%.

Twenty-six percent of children under age five are at moderate or high risk for developmental or behavioral delays. Early Head Start (EHS), Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and Early Intervention Part C are federal programs that support positive early learning experiences. Less than 4% of eligible infants and toddlers participate in EHS, leaving the majority of eligible infants and toddlers without access to this proven program. EHS plays an important role in children’s success in school, family self-sufficiency, and parental support of their child’s development. Thirty percent of children receiving child care subsidies funded by CCDBG are infants and toddlers. CCDBG, however, is able to serve only one in six eligible children. Three percent of infants and toddlers receive early intervention services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  For infants and toddlers with a disability or developmental delay, intervening early can serve as a protective buffer against multiple adverse influences that may hinder their development. Information on each state can be gathered from the 2013 State Baby Facts factsheets at, www.zerotothree.org/policy/statebabyfacts. The factsheets provide state information on infant and toddler health and positive early learning experiences for early childhood professionals and policymakers.