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 2017, 1 in 20 babies (single births) born in Minnesota was born at low birth weight. Babies born in Traverse County or Mahnomen County were most likely to have a low birth weight, while those born in Grant County or Clearwater County were least likely.
  • 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 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

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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?