The Right Start for America’s Newborns

A decade of city and state trends

Posted January 30, 2002
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Child Trends
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This working paper — which updates previous Right Start reports — looks at eight healthy birth measures from 1990 to 1999. It examines these measures at the state level, nationwide and by grouping together America’s 50 largest cities. The paper traces the history of Right Start, including a discussion of what motivated the original project, how cities and states were chosen and how specific birth indicators were selected.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations

Key Takeaway

There’s good news — and some bad news — after crunching data on healthy birth measures

The good news? The likelihood of babies getting off to a healthy start is increasing. As a nation, America improved in five out of eight healthy birth measures from 1990 to 1999. The bad news? Kids born in urban areas are less likely than their non-urban peers to start off healthy and strong. In fact, when regarded as a group, the nation’s 50 largest cities fared worse than the national average in seven out of eight healthy birth measures.