Connecting the Dots: 2017 Snapshots of Child Well-Being in Los Angeles County

Birth trends and family demographics across Los Angeles County: How they are changing and why it matters

  • Birth record data from 2002-2012 (the latest decade available) show a substantial drop in numbers and rates of births across L.A. County. Of the births that occurred, the majority were in the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, and in the South L.A. region.
  • Births to white and Latina mothers decreased countywide by 33% and 19%, respectively, while births to Chinese women rose 146% - this increase was most dramatic in the San Gabriel Valley.
  • Births to women with college degrees increased for the county as a whole, but not in the Metro, South, and East L.A. areas, or in the Antelope Valley.

Why do these trends matter? Understanding demographic trends is critical for planning services and systems to meet the changing needs of children and families. Historic service distribution patterns across the county may need to change to meet shifting demographic conditions. Communities with the largest concentrations of young children need the infrastructure and resources to support these families. Decades of research show investments in young children and families pay off. Assuring a healthy start for children should be one of the highest priorities for our county - our future literally depends on it.

MAP KEY:

  • 0 to -4%

  • -5 to -9%

  • -10 to -14%

  • -15 to -19%

  • -20 to -24%

Trends in timely prenatal care across Los Angeles County and why it matters

  • The percentage of births to women receiving prenatal care in their first trimester declined between 2002 and 2012 (most recent decade of birth records available), countywide and in all regions except the San Fernando Valley.
  • Receipt of timely prenatal care declined for nearly every demographic group in nearly every region of L.A. County during this decade—and inequities persisted, with receipt remaining less common among births to teens, women of color (particularly African Americans), mothers with lower education levels, and mothers with public insurance, as well as births where paternity was not established.
  • Why does it matter? Quality health care in the first trimester of pregnancy lowers the risk of complications including low birth weight and premature birth, a leading cause of infant death. Research shows that a healthy birth—followed by safe, nurturing relationships and environments—sets children on a path toward good health into adulthood.
  • The policy and program landscape has changed dramatically since 2012, with a new federal health care system and many promising community programs launched or expanded in the last five years. As subsequent years of data become available, the impact of these changes may be reflected in the data, revealing improvements in access to prenatal care.
  • Given the uncertain future of health care programs at the federal level, it is important to ensure that recent improvements are maintained and that services to support healthy births continue to be a priority.

MAP KEY:

  • 0 to +4%

  • 0 to -4%

  • -5 to -9%

  • -10 to -14%

  • -15 to -19%

Perinatal smoking in communities across Los Angeles County: Recent progress and why it matters

  • This snapshot highlights good news: The vast majority of women in L.A. County reported not smoking during pregnancy or in the three months before conception from 2007-2012 (latest available data from birth records). And perinatal non-smoking rates improved slightly during this period.
  • Data suggest that public health efforts to reduce smoking among expectant mothers—where smoking could have two-generation consequences—seem to be working.
  • All areas of the county saw improvements in perinatal non-smoking as well, though rates differed by region. While the Antelope Valley had the lowest percentage of births without perinatal smoking during 2007-2012, that region also experienced the greatest gains, e.g., figures in Service Planning Area (SPA) 1 rose from 95.5% to 96.5%.
  • Among racial/ethnic groups countywide, perinatal non-smoking levels were lowest for Japanese, African American, and white mothers, though these three groups showed the largest improvements as well. Only one demographic group had greater gains during this period—those without fathers established on birth records. Specifically, perinatal non-smoking levels for births without paternity established increased from 95.1% to 97.2%.

Why do these trends matter? Though these increases – in percentage terms – are relatively small, they represent thousands of infants and significant progress for maternal and child health in L.A. County. Perinatal smoking not only harms the mother’s health but also increases the risk of infant death, premature birth, low birthweight, and birth defects, among other complications.

MAP KEY:

  • 0 to +0.4%

  • +0.5 to +0.7%

  • +0.8 to +1%

Full-term and normal-weight births by region in Los Angeles County: Recent progress and why it matters

  • Good news: The percentage of infants born full-term and at a normal weight improved from 2007 to 2012 (latest birth record data available), countywide and in all regions of the county.
  • In 2012, just over half – 53.6% – of L.A. County births were full-term and normal weight, up from 47.7% in 2007.
  • These improvements affected all demographic subgroups, with figures increasing for all racial/ethnic groups, countywide. At the local level, increases were seen for most groups in most regions.
  • While full-term, normal-weight births were less common among mothers age 40+ compared to younger moms, women over 40 experienced the largest gains in full-term, normal-weight births of any demographic group in L.A. County during this period, from 39.9% to 48.8%. Improvements also were seen for births to teen mothers, from 51.3% to 56.6%.
  • These findings indicate that public health efforts to decrease preterm births and improve birth weights appear to be working. As new birth record data become available, they likely will show continued progress given that many new programs and policies have been implemented since 2012. It is critical to maintain these gains and continue prioritizing efforts to promote healthy births in L.A. County, especially now, at a time of change and uncertainty for the nation’s health care system and safety net programs.

Why is it important for infants to be born “full-term” (delivered in the 39th or 40th week) and at a “normal weight” (about 5.5-8.8 pounds)? When babies reach full-term, their bodies have a chance to fully develop, including their respiratory, brain, and liver functioning. Preterm birth and low birthweight are leading causes of infant death in the U.S. In addition, infants born too early or too small are at increased risk of serious long-term health problems that can be very challenging for children and families and for society-at-large, resulting in billions of dollars spent each year on health care, special education, and other services.

MAP KEY:

  • 0 to +4%

  • +5 to +9%

  • +10 to +14%

  • +15 to +19%

MAP: MAP:
Percentage Change in General Fertility Rates from 2002 to 2012, by Service Planning Area (SPA) and Supervisorial District (SD) in L.A. County. Percentage Change in Births to Mothers Receiving Timely (First Trimester) Prenatal Care from 2002 to 2012, by Service Planning Area (SPA) and Supervisorial District (SD) in L.A. County Percentage Change in Births with No Perinatal Smoking from 2007 to 2012 in Los Angeles County Percentage Change in Births at Full-term and Normal-Weight from 2007 to 2012 in Los Angeles County

VIEW DATA BY:

Service Planning Area (SPA)

Supervisorial District (SD)

MAP KEY:

  • 0 to -4%

  • -5 to -9%

  • -10 to -14%

  • -15 to -19%

  • -20 to -24%

MAP KEY:

  • 0 to +4%

  • 0 to -4%

  • -5 to -9%

  • -10 to -14%

  • -15 to -19%

MAP KEY:

  • 0 to +0.4%

  • +0.5 to +0.7%

  • +0.8 to +1%

Introduction

Introduction

Introduction

Introduction

Birth Trends By Region

A Look at the Overall Declines

Key Findings

Overall Findings

Demographics and Socioeconomics of Infants and Their Families

Access to Prenatal Care by Demographic Group

Key Findings by Demographic Group

Implications

Implications

Implications

Implications

Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments & References

Acknowledgments & References

Acknowledgments & References

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About the Project

This snapshot is part of the ongoing "Connecting the Dots" series by the Children's Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Connecting the Dots snapshots bring together data and stories to provide new insights about the health and well-being of children and families in L.A. County. The series also highlights the great work happening throughout the county.

This is the first of four snapshots to be released in 2017, drawing on data from birth records to examine regional differences within L.A. County. This snapshot provides an overview of infant and family demographic trends as a foundation for the next three snapshots, which will explore specific indicators of healthy birth outcomes, such as receipt of timely prenatal care.

To learn more about this project and the Children’s Data Network, please visit http://www.datanetwork.org/snapshots/

This snapshot is part of the ongoing "Connecting the Dots" series by the Children's Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Connecting the Dots snapshots bring together data and stories to provide new insights about the health and well-being of children and families in L.A. County. The series also highlights the great work happening throughout the county.

This is the second of four snapshots to be released in 2017, drawing on data from birth records to examine trends and regional differences within L.A. County. The first snapshot provided an overview of birth trends and family demographics as a foundation for the next three snapshots, which will explore specific indicators of healthy birth outcomes. This snapshot focuses on access to early prenatal care, and the next one will address perinatal smoking.

To learn more about this project and the Children’s Data Network, please visit http://www.datanetwork.org/snapshots/

This snapshot is part of the ongoing "Connecting the Dots" series by the Children's Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Connecting the Dots snapshots bring together data and stories to provide new insights about the health and well-being of children and families in L.A. County. The series also highlights the great work happening throughout the county.

This is the third of four snapshots to be released in 2017, drawing on data from birth records to examine regional differences in births and healthy birth indicators within L.A. County. The four snapshot topics are Birth Trends, Timely Prenatal Care, Perinatal Smoking, and Full-Term & Normal-Weight Births.

To learn more about this project and the Children’s Data Network, please visit http://www.datanetwork.org/snapshots/

This snapshot is part of the ongoing "Connecting the Dots" series by the Children's Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Connecting the Dots snapshots bring together data and stories to provide new insights about the health and well-being of children and families in L.A. County. The series also highlights the great work happening throughout the county.

As noted, this is the fourth and final snapshot in the 2017 series, drawing on data from birth records to examine regional differences in births and healthy birth indicators across L.A. County. The four snapshots covered Birth Trends, Timely Prenatal Care, Perinatal Smoking, and Full-Term & Normal-Weight Births.

To learn more about this project and the Children’s Data Network, please visit http://www.datanetwork.org/snapshots/

Map Data Notes:

Data Definition: Percentage change in General Fertility Rate—number of births per 1,000 women ages 15-49—from 2002 to 2012, by Service Planning Area (SPA) and Supervisorial District (SD) in Los Angeles County.

Source: Vital Records, 2002-2012. Analysis by the Children’s Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California. Population estimates for denominators retrieved from the California Department of Finance (http://www.dof.ca.gov/Forecasting/Demographics/Estimates/) and U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml). Zip code estimates calculated by the Spatial Sciences Institute at the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

Footnotes: Changes in fertility rates between 2002 and 2012 were statistically significant for L.A. County, all Supervisorial Districts, and all SPAs except 1 and 5. Population denominators for women ages 15-49 in each geographic area are synthetic zip code estimates based on city estimates from the California Department of Finance and U.S. Census Bureau.

Released March 2017

Data Definition: Percentage change in births to mothers receiving timely prenatal care (i.e., in the first trimester) from 2002 to 2012 by Service Planning Area (SPA) and Supervisorial District (SD) in Los Angeles County.

Source: Vital Records, 2002-2012. Analysis by the Children’s Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

Footnotes: Changes in the percentage of births to women receiving timely prenatal care between 2002 and 2012 were statistically significant for L.A. County, all SPAs, and all SDs.

Released April 2017

Data Definition: Percentage change in births to mothers who reported not smoking during pregnancy or in the three months prior to conception from 2007 to 2012, by Service Planning Area (SPA) and Supervisorial District (SD) in Los Angeles County.

Source: Vital Records, 2002-2012. Analysis by the Children’s Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

Footnotes: Changes in the percentage of births with no perinatal smoking between 2007 and 2012 were statistically significant for L.A. County, all SPAs, and all SDs. As smoking is self-reported, this information likely is less reliable than other information collected on the birth record but is loosely in line with other self-reported data on perinatal smoking, e.g., see Health Indicators for Women in Los Angeles County; Smoking Prevalence and Cessation Before and During Pregnancy: Data From the Birth Certificate, 2014; and MIHA Report 2013-2014.

Released May 2017

Data Definition: Percentage change in births at full-term and normal weight from 2007 to 2012, by Service Planning Area (SPA) and Supervisorial District (SD) in Los Angeles County.

Source: Vital Records, 2002-2012. Analysis by the Children’s Data Network at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.

Footnotes: Changes in the percentage of births at full-term and normal weight between 2007 and 2012 were statistically significant for L.A. County, all SPAs, and all SDs except for SD 4.

Released June 2017