March 30, 2018

How Many U.S. Kids Have Special Health Care Needs?

In the United States today, 14 million kids under the age of 18 have special health care needs.

In the United States today, 14 million kids under the age of 18 have special health care needs.

Rates of identified children range from a low of 14% in Hawaii to a high of 25% in Kentucky.

Children with special health care needs "have or are at increased risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and also require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally," according to the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services. Such needs are rooted in a range of conditions, such as Down syndrome, autism, speech impediments and emotional, developmental or behavioral problems.

Raising a child with special health care needs can be challenging for parents. Coordinating care and navigating health systems - both of which can involve a complicated network of doctors, teachers and community resources - can be both time- and energy-intensive.

Access more health data on the KIDS COUNT Data Center: