Every child and family deserves access to affordable, quality physical and behavioral health care.
Quality and consistent preventive health care, beginning even before birth, gives children the best chance to grow up to be healthy and productive adults.
Children and families must be able to access and maintain affordable health insurance, and policies should maximize availability and robust investment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Our health care systems and policies should prioritize preventive services including immunization, developmental screenings, early intervention, and home visiting. Policies should promote timely and equitable access to a complete range of health care services within a health home and community-based environments for children and families across the lifespan.


25,494 babies were born in 2018.

Pre/post-natal health

Source: Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

12% of new mothers experienced postpartum depression symptoms related to their most recent pregnancy.²

5% of women had a home visitor during pregnancy to help prepare for the new baby.²

Source: Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Tobacco use (2018)2

  • Did not use tobacco during most recent pregnancy (84.7%)
  • Used tobacco during most recent pregnancy (8.7%)
  • Smoked in the three months prior to pregnancy (3.4%)

Low birth weight (2016)1

  • Not low birth weight (92.4%)
  • Moderately low birth weight (6.4%)
  • Very low birth weight (1.1%)

Folic acid use prior to pregnancy (2018)2

  • 4 or more times/week before pregnancy (43.2%)
  • 3 or fewer times/week before pregnancy (56.8%)

Pregnancy intendedness (2018)*2

  • Unintended pregnancy (43.5%)
  • Intended Pregnancy (56.5%)
1. Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
2. PRAMS, 2018.

Teen births & sexual behavior

Teen Births

In 2018 there were 1,079 babies born to teen mothers, 263 to mothers who were 10-17 years old, 816 to mothers who were 18 or 19.¹

Teen births (2007-2018)

  • Ages 10-17
  • Ages 18-19
Source: Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Teen births by age (2018)

  • Ages 18-19 (75.6%)
  • Ages 16-17 (20.5%)
  • Ages 14-15 (3.8%)
  • Ages 10-13 (0.1%)
Source: Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).


In 2018, there were 9 children ages 0-11 and 18 children ages 12-19 living with HIV.

Since 2008, no children with a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS have died from the disease.

1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2015.
2. Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
3. HIV Surveillance, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) (2007-2018)2

Infant & child deaths

Infant mortality

Infant mortality increased to 5.9 per 1,000 births in 2018 from 5.6 per 1,000 births in 2017.

Pregnancy deaths

8 women died in 2018 due to a cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management.

Rate of infant mortality per 1,000 births by race and ethnicity (2018)

Child deaths, ages 1-19 (2007-2018)

Source: Vital Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Health Insurance

Health coverage for Nebraska’s children, ages 17 & under (2018)1

  • Any
  • Public Insurance
  • Employer-Based Insurance
  • Direct-Purchase Insurance
  • Uninsured

Access to health care

In 2018, there were 24,835 (5.1%) uninsured children in Nebraska. Of those, 12,540 (50%) were low-income (below 200% of the federal poverty level) and likely eligible, yet unenrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).1

Medicaid and CHIP served a monthly average of 166,486 children in SFY 2017.2

75% of those eligible for Medicaid/CHIP are children, but children only make up 27% of Medicaid costs.2

Nebraska Medicaid average monthly eligible persons by age (SFY 2018)2

  • Blind/Disabled (14.3%)
  • Aged (8.4%)
  • Adults (2.6%)
  • Children (74.7%)

Nebraska Medicaid expenditures by age (SFY 2018)3

  • Blind/Disabled
  • Aged
  • Adults
  • Children

CHIP/Medicaid enrollment (SFY 2018)2

  • Medicaid (79.8%)
  • CHIP (20.2%)
1. U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B27016.
2. Financial and Program Analysis Unit, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
3. U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, Tables C27001B-I.
* “Children” category combines Medicaid and CHIP coverage. “Adults” are those aged 19-64 receiving Aid to Dependent Children, or temporary cash assistance through the state of Nebraska.

Behavioral Health

An estimated 44,543 Nebraska children have been diagnosed with a mental/behavioral condition needing treatment.1

Many children in Nebraska deal with behavioral health problems that may affect their ability to participate in normal childhood activities. The National Survey of Children’s Health estimates the number of Nebraska children facing the following disorders:¹

• Anxiety: 16,462
• ADD/ADHD: 25,323
• Depression: 13,600
• Autism Spectrum Disorder: 10,367

57.6% of children needing mental health counseling actually received it.¹

Regional centers (2018)3

101 males

received services at Hastings Regional Center, a chemical dependency program for youth from the Youth Rehabilitation & Treatment Center (YRTC) in Kearney.

59 males

received services from Lincoln Regional Center at the Whitehall Campus.

68% of children six months to five years met all four measures of flourishing.¹

• Bounces back quickly when things don’t go their way
• Are affectionate and tender with their parent(s)
• Show interest and curiosity in learning new things
• Smile and laugh a lot

1. 2016-2017 National Survey of Children’s Health.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2017.
3. Division of Behavioral Health, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

23,937 Nebraska children received mental health and substance abuse services through Medicaid or CHIP in FY 2016.2

29,690 children received behavioral health services through Medicaid/CHIP from 1,353 providers (FY 2018).³

199 children received developmental services through Medicaid/CHIP (FY 2018).³

27.0% of teens felt sad or hopeless (everyday for 2+ weeks so that activity was stopped in last 12 months).²

Health Risks

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2015.

13 Nebraska children ages 1-18 were injured by a firearm necessitating hospitalization in 2018.4

  • 9 were due to accidental discharge.
  • 3 were due to assault.
  • 1 was undetermined.

Motor vehicle accidents (2018)2

20 children died and 135 children suffered disabling injuries in motor vehicle accidents.

  • 50% children who died were not wearing a seatbelt, 34% of those with disabling injuries were not wearing a seatbelt.
  • Alcohol was involved in crashes resulting in 7 deaths and 13 disabling injuries.
Source: Nebraska Department of Roads.

Blood Lead Level Testing (2018)3

Exposure to lead may harm a child’s brain and central nervous system. Even low blood lead concentrations can
cause irreversible damage such as:

• impaired physical and cognitive development,
• delayed development,
• behavioral problems,
• hearing loss, and
• malnutrition.

In 2018:

36,565 children were tested.

376 had elevated
blood lead levels,
representing 1.0% of
all children tested.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2017.
2. Nebraska Department of Roads.
3. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
4. Nebraska Hospital Information System.

Health Risks

Source: 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health.

Domestic violence & sexual assault2

Nebraska’s Network of Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Programs includes 20 community-based programs. There are also four tribal programs which comprise the Nebraska Tribal Coalition Ending Family Violence.

1.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
2. Nebraska Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition.

Health Risks

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. Experiencing multiple ACEs results in compounding effects, and there is growing evidence that it is the general experience of multiple ACEs, rather than the specific individual impact of any one experience that matters. The experience of ACEs extends beyond the child and can cause consequences for the whole family and community.

Number of ACEs (2016)

  • 0 ACEs (58%)
  • 1-2 ACEs (22%)
  • 3+ ACEs (20%)
Source: The Child & Adolescent Health Measure Initiative, A national and across-state profile on Adverse Childhood Experience among U.S. children and possibilities to health and thrive, 2017.

Health Services

Health professional shortage areas are designations that indicate a shortage of health care providers in the areas of primary care, mental health care, or dental health care. Shortages fall into three categories:¹

1. Geographic areas – a shortage of providers for the
entire population within an area
2. Population groups – a shortage of proiders within
an area for a specific high need population
3. Facilities – health care facilities within an area have
a shortage of health professionals to meet their needs

Immunizations (2017)2

77.9% of Nebraska children had received the primary immunization series* by age three.
84.8% of Nebraska teens were immunized against meningitis caused by types A, C, W, and Y.
61.4% of Nebraska teen girls and 55.3% of Nebraska teen boys completed their HPV vaccine series.

79.2% of children had a preventive medical visit in the past year.2

82.2% of children had a preventive dental visit in the past year.2

34.7% of children had one or more current health conditions.3

88.6% of children are in very good to excellent health.3

Children with a Medical home (2017)3

A patient-centered medical home is a primary care physician or provider that serves as a child’s usual source of care. It is an important mechanism for coordination of all segments of health – physical, behavioral, and oral.

  • 42.7% do not have a medical home
  • 57.3% have a medical home
1. Shortage Designation, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
2. Immunization Program, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
*Series 4:3:1:3:3:1:4
3. 2016-17 National Survey of Children’s Health.