Priority Families

Many families could benefit from the support of a home visitor, yet limited resources restrict the number that receive services. To identify a subpopulation of high-priority families, we estimate the number and percentage of families who meet any 1 of 5 targeting criteria:

  • Having an infant
  • Income below the federal poverty threshold
  • Pregnant women and mothers under 21
  • Single/never married mothers or pregnant women
  • Parents without a high school education

These criteria were chosen to be useful to states, whether they aim to serve all infants or to focus on families with at least one demographic or economic characteristic associated with poor developmental outcomes. Even though actual targeting criteria differ from state to state and from program to program, our national estimates show large numbers of families who are likely to benefit from home visiting.

Potential Beneficiaries of Early Childhood Home Visiting Services: Targeted Populations

Potential beneficiaries

Number

Percentage

Pregnant women and families with children under 6 years old not yet in kindergarten 17,967,800 100
Targeted populations among potential beneficiaries

Number

Percentage

Families with infants under 12 months 3,484,200 19
Families and pregnant women with income below poverty threshold 4,455,200 25
Pregnant women and mothers under 21 years 568,900 3
Single mothers and pregnant women 4,292,500 24
Parents and pregnant women with less than a high school education 1,381,300 8

Source: Author tabulations of American Community Survey, 2013–2017.
Note: See the methodology section for more detail on the data source and variable definitions.

Interested in State-Level Data?

We also estimate the number and percentage of families who meet any 1 of the 5 targeting criteria or 2 or more criteria.

Potential Beneficiaries of Early Childhood Home Visiting Services: High-Priority Families

Potential beneficiaries
Number Percentage
Pregnant women and families with children under 6 years old not yet in kindergarten 17,967,800 100
High-priority families
Number Percentage
Pregnant women and families meeting any 1 of 5 targeting criteria 9,086,900 51
Pregnant women and families meeting 2 or more targeting criteria 3,706.600 21

Source: Author tabulations of American Community Survey, 2013–2017.
Note: See the methodology section for more detail on the data source and variable definitions.

51%
of potential beneficiaries meet any 1 of the 5 criteria
21%
of potential beneficiaries meet 2 or more criteria

Potential Beneficiaries of Early Childhood Home Visiting Services: Child Characteristics

Age

Percentage

Percentage meeting criteria

1 year 16 30
1–2 years 34 29
3–5 years 50 41
Primary language

Percentage

Percentage meeting criteria

English 72 68
Spanish 19 24
Other 9 8
Health insurance status

Percentage

Percentage meeting criteria

Public 44 62
Private 51 33
None 5 5

Source: Author tabulations of American Community Survey, 2013–2017.
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding. Some children with public health insurance also have private health insurance. Age, health insurance status, and primary language are based on data for children, except language for children under 4 years old is based on language of their mother or other primary caregiver.

High-priority children meeting any one of the targeting criteria differ from the broader population of all potential beneficiaries in several ways; for example, they are more likely to—

be infants
have public health insurance
have parents without a high school diploma

Potential Beneficiaries of Early Childhood Home Visiting Services: Family Characteristics

Race

Percentage

Percentage meeting criteria

American Indian/Alaska Native 1 1
Asian 6 4
Black 14 19
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander <0.5 <0.5
White 69 63
Multiple 3 3
Other 7 9
Ethnicity

Percentage

Percentage meeting criteria

Hispanic or Latino 23 29
Education

Percentage

Percentage meeting criteria

Less than a high school education 10 19
Type

Percentage

Percentage meeting criteria

Mother and father 64 51
Mother only 21 36
Father only 4 4
No parent 3 3
No child (pregnant woman without children) 7 6

 

Source: Author tabulations of American Community Survey, 2013–2017.
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding. Race and ethnicity are measured by family and based on race and ethnicity of mother or other primary caregiver. Type is measured by family and based on data for the youngest child; “mother only” families include children with two mothers; “father only” families include children with two fathers. Caregiver education is based on data for all parents present or the head of household if no parents are present.

Priority Families: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

To maximize limited resources, MIECHV requires awardees to prioritize families living in at-risk communities as identified by statewide needs assessments. MIECHV also encourages awardees to target priority populations to serve families most in need.

High-priority families include those with—

  • Low incomes
  • Pregnant women under 21
  • History of child maltreatment or prior involvement with the child welfare system
  • History of substance abuse or in current need of substance abuse treatment
  • Current tobacco use in the home
  • Children with low student achievement
  • Children with developmental delays or disabilities
  • Individuals who are serving or have served in the military