State of Babies Yearbook: 2023


State of Babies

State of Babies Yearbook


Zero to Three released the fifth edition of the State of Babies Yearbook: 2023. This report focuses on the three impact areas that heavily influence a baby's life: (1) Good health, (2) Strong families, and (3) Positive early learning experiences. The extensive 187-page report covers what Zero to Three describes as “Five Urgent Policy Areas to Ensure a Strong Foundation:” (1) Maternal health, (2) Infant and early childhood mental health, (3) Childcare, (4) Housing, and (5) Economic security. The report provides accompanying data and evidence to support its suggestions.

The State of Babies Yearbook (SOBY) uses its signature, lowest to highest, GROW ranking to assess babies' start to life. (G)-Getting started, (R)-reaching forward, (O)-Improving Outcomes, and (W)-working effectively. The report compares and explains what policy changes should be improved to increase positive outcomes for babies in each state. The SOBY also provided state-by-state ratings in three specific policy domains: (1) Good health, (2) Strong families, and (3) Positive early learning experiences.

Regarding the Key indicators of ‘good health,’ there were several areas in which Arkansas had a better rating than the national average. Arkansas babies have a lower percentage of uninsured low-income infants and toddlers at 4.1%, while the national average is 5.2%. Overall, Arkansas earned a “G” rating, and although it is the lowest rating on the GROW tier, it does signify an improvement in the well-being of the 106,615 babies living in the state. There are areas for improvement under the ‘strong families’ category for the Natural State, under the sub-category of ‘2 or more adverse childhood experiences.’ Arkansas has an 11.3%, higher than the national average of 7.2%. There are several indicators that Arkansas is performing better than the national average under the ‘positive early learning experiences’ category. More income-eligible toddlers have access to Early Head Start; the national average is 11.0%, lower than 15.0% of Arkansas. Arkansas also performed better with infants and toddlers in CCDF funded- care, at 5.3% compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Read more of the critical findings of the State of Babies Yearbook: 2023 here: