Improving Quality of Life

Quality of life can be improved when communities offer support to families, teachers, and caregivers, to ensure the healthy physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development and school readiness of young children.

The first years of life are crucial for a child's development and set the stage for future challenges or successes.  In order to maintain a high quality of life in North Dakota, we need to invest in our children.  Children raised in loving and stable environments that provide positive stimulation, and who receive early screening and intervention for health or developmental problems, enter school ready to do their best.  The return on investment in these early years will pay back over a child’s entire lifetime.

What's happening

  • Birth weight can provide important insight into a child's long-term health and future success. During 2016, about 7 percent of babies in North Dakota were born with low birth weight (7.6%). Region IV (i.e., Grand Forks, Pembina, and Walsh counties) had the highest percentage of babies born with low birth weight in 2016 (8.0%).
  • Among 3 and 4 year olds in North Dakota, 28.6 percent were in preschool (i.e., organized child care programs offering educational experiences for children during the years preceding kindergarten – including Head Start) in 2016; the national average was 48.0 percent.
  • The percentage of young children (under 6 years old) for whom all parents are working increased in North Dakota from 66.1 percent in 2015 to 73.5 percent in 2016 and is higher than the national average at 65.5 percent. Household income and child care availability and affordability can be important factors that influence parents’ participation in the labor force.

Making connections

Low birth weight babies may have higher risks for certain health problems or suffer from social development or learning disabilities. Prevention strategies in addition to improving the health behaviors of pregnant women and screening during pregnancy include improving women's general health over the life cycle and effective interventions and changes in the social determinants of health (e.g., poverty, educationjob opportunities).

Receiving quality prenatal care continued with acquiring early learning experiences in the years preceding kindergarten, are establishing the conditions that promote successful educational achievement for children.  

An investment in our young children is an investment in the future economy and workforce of our state.


Grace Njau: A Brief Introduction to the North Dakota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS)

"The purpose of ND PRAMS is to supplement vital records data regarding maternal behaviors and experiences. As of 2017, no alternate data sources are available in ND to measure the current prevalence of the topics below – making PRAMS a valuable addition to maternal and child health data capacity in the state."

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ND Department of Health: Making change happen - Improving the health and well-being of all North Dakota infants, mothers, children, children with special health care needs and their families

"The Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant Program—the Nation’s oldest federal-state partnership—aims to improve the health and well-being of women, particularly mothers, and children. Every five years, legislation requires ND to develop a comprehensive statewide needs assessment for the MCH Services Title V Block Grant Program. This needs assessment is an ongoing collaborative process, one that is critical to program planning and development and enables the state to target services and monitor the effectiveness of interventions that support improvements in the health, safety and well-being of the MCH population."

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North Dakota Compass

Center for Social Research
North Dakota State University

Compass created by:
Wilder Research

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