Trends and Characteristics among Unvaccinated Children in the United States

Laura Blakeslee, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Three times more U.S. children were unvaccinated in 2010 than just nine years earlier, increasing the proportion of unvaccinated children to nearly 1% nationwide. Although this represents only 50,000 children, outbreaks of infectious diseases (including pertussis, measles and mumps) tend to occur in clusters of unvaccinated children, highlighting the need to understand the changing characteristics of these children. Corroborating previous research, this analysis of the National Immunization Survey finds unvaccinated children still tend to be White, have college-educated mothers, live in high income households, with four or more children, and in the west, especially in states that offer philosophical exemptions from immunization. However, an increasingly heterogeneous group of children (with less educated mothers, living in poor households, and households with fewer children) are now more likely to be unvaccinated. These findings may help reduce outbreaks by informing health policies and directing program efforts toward children most likely to be unvaccinated.

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Presented in Session 3: Health Behaviors