Jefferson County, Kentucky’s kids are doing better on several measures than they did in previous years but are losing ground in other indicators, according to the annual Kids Count County Data Books from Kentucky Youth Advocates.
The latest data suggests fewer Jefferson County kids are living in poverty, incarcerated in the juvenile justice system or without health insurance. But the rate of kids living with people other than their parents and of babies born with low-birth weights continues to rise.
The average newborn weighs about 8 pounds. Babies are considered to have low-birth weight when they are born weighing below 5 pounds, 8 ounces. In Jefferson County between 2014 and 2016, 9.3 percent of babies were born with low-birth weight. That’s compared to a nationwide rate of 8.1 percent, and is an increase from the county’s previous rate of 9.2 percent between 2009 and 2011.
Kentucky Youth Advocates Executive Director Terry Brooks said one of the leading causes of low-birth weight is smoking while pregnant. In Jefferson County between 2014 and 2016, 10 percent of pregnant women smoked, which is a decrease from the previous rate of 13.1 percent between 2009 and 2011.
“We know that the major causal …