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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.

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United States Value:


Percentage of population younger than age 18

Population - Children Ages <18 in depth:

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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

Trend: Population - Children Ages <18 in United States, 2023 Annual Report

Percentage of population younger than age 18

United States

 CDC WONDER, Single-Race Population Estimates

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About Population - Children Ages <18

US Value: 21.7%

Top State(s): Utah: 27.6%

Bottom State(s): Vermont: 17.7%

Definition: Percentage of population younger than age 18

Data Source and Years: CDC WONDER, Single-Race Population Estimates, 2022

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

The demographics of a state influence the health needs and outcomes of its population. Understanding the demographic breakdown by age and race/ethnicity can help state health officials determine priorities for health promotion and disease prevention. In 2022 there were over 72 million children in the United States, making up nearly 22% of the nation’s population. 

There are opportunities to reduce 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. 

Prioritizing children’s health is also important for overall population health, as many adult diseases start developing in early childhood. Childhood stressors such as poverty, racial discrimination and toxic or violent home conditions can negatively impact physical and mental development and are associated with higher rates of chronic disease and unhealthy behaviors later in life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published a report on the importance of identifying at-risk children and taking action to address disparities across the social determinants of health. Efforts to increase the likelihood of positive health outcomes among children include:

  • Reducing exposure to adversity and stressors in early childhood.
  • Implementing screening interventions for early identification and treatment of diseases. 
  • Helping vulnerable children and their families find support services for which they are eligible.
  • Increasing high school graduation rates.

Healthy People 2030 has an overarching goal to promote healthy development for children and adolescents. Specific objectives include: 

  • Increasing the proportion of children who receive developmental screening.
  • Increasing the proportion of children who get sufficient sleep.
  • Increasing the proportion of children and adolescents who get preventive mental health care in school.

Robinson, Lara R., Rebecca H. Bitsko, Ross A. Thompson, Paul H. Dworkin, Mary Ann McCabe, Georgina Peacock, and Phoebe G. Thorpe. “CDC Grand Rounds: Addressing Health Disparities in Early Childhood.” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 66, no. 29 (July 28, 2017): 769–72.

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.


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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.