ZERO TO THREE publishes 2020 ‘State of Babies Yearbook,’ new Arizona report

ZERO TO THREE recently published its 2020 State of Babies Yearbook, which includes new data for Arizona. ZERO TO THREE’s annual report compares “national and state-by-state data on the well-being of infants and toddlers.” The yearly overview highlights the importance of policy building a foundation for babies’ and toddlers’ future learning, behavior and health.

Arizona’s state profile highlights demographics first, finding that 49.2 percent of Arizona’s 255,977 babies “live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty line” and 62.3 percent of Arizona babies are children of color. By nearly every statistical measure, ZERO TO THREE found that “children living in poverty and children of color face the biggest obstacles, such as low birthweight, unstable housing, and limited access to quality child care,” advocating for “a broad array of policies and services” to ensure all Arizona infants and toddlers have an equitable start in life.

The 2020 State of Babies Yearbook explores how infants, toddlers and their families are faring in three key policy domains (Good Health, Strong Families, and Positive Early Learning Experiences), and how Arizona stacks up against the national average. When examining a state’s effectiveness in these categories, they rank states in four tiers: G (Getting Started), R (Reaching Forward), O (Improving Outcomes) and W (Working Effectively).

Good Health ranking: Getting Started

“Arizona performs better than national averages on key indicators, such as the percentages of babies born at low birthweight and babies receiving preventive dental care. The state is performing worse than national averages on indicators such as the percentages of women receiving late or no prenatal care and babies experiencing food insecurity.”

Strong Families ranking: Getting Started

“The state’s ranking in this domain reflects indicators on which it is performing better than the national average, such as the percentage of babies who could benefit from home visiting receiving those services. Arizona is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the percentages of families in poverty with babies receiving TANF [Temporary Assistance to Needy Families] and babies who have had two or more adverse experiences.”

Positive Early Learning Experiences ranking: Getting Started

“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 babies daily. Arizona is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the lower percentages of parents who sing/tell stories to their babies daily and babies who receive IDEA Part C services [Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities, which assists states in operating a comprehensive statewide program of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities].”

“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 babies daily. Arizona is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the lower percentages of parents who sing/tell stories to their babies daily and babies who receive IDEA Part C services [Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities, which assists states in operating a comprehensive statewide program of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities].”

Read the Arizona data included in the 2020 State of Babies Yearbook