America's Health Rankings, United Health Foundation Logo

Population - Children Ages <18
Population - Children Ages <18 in United States
United States

Explore national- and state-level data for hundreds of health, environmental and socioeconomic measures, including background information about each measure. Use features on this page to find measures; view subpopulations, trends and rankings; and download and share content.

How to use this page

Population - Children Ages <18 in depth:

Explore Population Data:

General Population

Population - Children Ages <18 by State

Percentage of population younger than age 18

Population - Children Ages <18 Trends

Percentage of population younger than age 18

View All Populations

Population - Children Ages <18

About Population - Children Ages <18

US Value: 22.2%

Top State(s): Utah: 28.4%

Bottom State(s): Vermont: 18.1%

Definition: Percentage of population younger than age 18

Data Source and Years: CDC WONDER, Single-Race Population Estimates, 2021

Suggested Citation: America's Health Rankings analysis of CDC WONDER, Single-Race Population Estimates, United Health Foundation,, accessed 2023.

The health of America’s children is an important public health issue. In 2019, there were over 73 million children in the United States, making up 22% of the nation’s population. There are opportunities to end preventable deaths among children and improve their access to health care, nutrition and education, as well as their general health and well-being. Investments in these opportunities last a lifetime. However, for the 2020 fiscal year, roughly 7.5% of federal spending went toward children, down 8.6% since 2016.   

Prioritizing children’s health is also important as many adult diseases start developing in early childhood and are influenced by stress and health disparities in childhood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report on addressing health disparities in early childhood that describes how stressors in childhood can impact health, as well as how to identify at risk children and how to take action.

Healthy People 2030 has an objective looking at children and adolescent health with some goals including children receiving development screening, children who get sufficient sleep and children and adolescents who get preventive mental health care in school.

Aherne, Drew, Michelle Dallafior, and Christopher Towner. “Children’s Budget 2020.” Washington, D.C.: First Focus on Children, 2020.

Shonkoff, Jack P., Andrew S. Garner, Benjamin S. Siegel, Mary I. Dobbins, Marian F. Earls, Andrew S. Garner, Laura McGuinn, John Pascoe, and David L. Wood. “The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress.” Pediatrics 129, no. 1 (January 1, 2012): e232–46.

Current Reports

America’s Health Rankings builds on the work of the United Health Foundation to draw attention to public health and better understand the health of various populations. Our platform provides relevant information that policymakers, public health officials, advocates and leaders can use to effect change in their communities.

We have developed detailed analyses on the health of key populations in the country, including women and children, seniors and those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, in addition to a deep dive into health disparities across the country.