Measuring progress. Inspiring action.


Goal: All young children throughout Minnesota enter school ready to learn.

In order to retain our state's competitive edge in the global marketplace, and to maintain our high quality of life here at home, we need to invest in our children. Arguably the most crucial for a child's development, the early years will set the stage for future challenge or success. Children raised in a loving, stable environment that provides positive stimulation, and who receive early screening and intervention for health or developmental problems, enter school ready to do their best. Investment in those important early years will pay back over a child's entire lifetime.

What's happening

Birth weight and early screening for potential learning and health concerns are two important measures for determining a child’s long-term health and success.

    • During 2018, 1 in 20 babies (single births) born in Minnesota was born at low birth weight. Babies born in the  counties of Becker, Filmore, Kittson, Sibley, Traverse, Marshall, Murray, Pennington, Polk, and Wilkin saw at least a 40% decrease in the percentage born at a low birth weight between 2017 and 2018.
    • Early childhood screening is required for kindergarten entrance, but screening at age 3 or 4 provides more benefit to children and the schools who will receive them. Efforts to screen children at a younger age are improving: four out of five children screened across the state in 2017 were under age 5.

The Risk and Reach project describes early childhood development indicators county by county. View measures of risk and compare them to the reach of publicly-funded programs serving the early learning, health, and basic needs of young children.

Making connections

Good health gives children the best chance to enter school ready to learn and to be productive throughout their lives. Success or challenges early in life may lay the foundation for the child's experiences in K-12 education and beyond. An investment in our young children is an investment in the future economy and workforce of our state.

New & Noteworthy

Boy measuring himself next to a growth chart

We know how many children live in poverty or are in foster care. We track this data because it provides information that policymakers and others can use to inform policy. But does this data, which enumerates facts about children through a deficit lens, provide a balanced accounting of the well-being of children?