Childhood Bereavement: A Critical Issue
An estimated 6 million children in the United States will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18.
Childhood grief has profound impacts on youth, families, and communities. In partnership with the New York Life Foundation, we developed the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model (CBEM) to understand the magnitude of the issue. The CBEM approximates rates of U.S. children and youth who will experience the death of a parent or sibling by the time they reach adulthood.
This information helps communities evaluate the impacts of unaddressed grief, campaign for grief resources, and ultimately, contribute to improved outcomes for grieving families everywhere.
Snapshot CBEM Results
Snapshot CBEM results are derived from Current CBEM analyses and examine one year of input data to provide the number of children newly bereaved in a specific year.
Childhood Bereavement in the United States
2023 CBEM State results vary greatly across the nation. West Virginia has the highest concentration of bereaved children with 13.3% projected to experience the loss of a parent or sibling by age 18. For the first time since 2018, Minnesota has the lowest concentration with 6.5%. National, state, and county-level findings help advocates better understand and support the unique needs of bereaved children in their communities.
How many children and youth will be bereaved in YOUR state? Hover over the map for a snapshot of CBEM rankings and rates. Click on a state to view and download the full report.
Join us in elevating childhood bereavement to a critical public priority. You can keep kids on track to health and healing by utilizing our CBEM resources to educate your community and increase awareness.
Childhood Bereavement: Pandemic Impact
National Key Topic Report explores childhood bereavement by pandemic impact on parent causes of death.
This report expands on last year’s COVID-19 Pandemic Impact Report by providing CBEM Snapshot results due to a parent’s death from stigmatized causes in 2021. Specifically, the 2023 Key Topic Report explores bereavement connected to accidental drug overdose, COVID-19, suicide, and homicide by gunshot. CBEM Snapshot results offer point-in-time prevalence data. Findings in our 2023 report reflect increases in childhood bereavement due to these stigmatized losses year over year.
Children who have experienced a stigmatized death loss like those highlighted in this report may experience feelings of isolation, guilt, and uncertainty. The report, along with the resources below, are designed to increase your understanding of the issue and make a difference for bereaved families.
Childhood Bereavement: The Cost of Inaction
Research shows that bereaved children are at an increased risk of disrupted development. Unaddressed childhood grief and trauma can lead to short- and long-term difficulties including decreased academic performance, mental health issues, and early mortality.
Timely support introduced at critical junctions aids in healthy development. Each day, bereaved youth turn to peers and adults for assistance in managing complex grief reactions. Data from the CBEM reinforces the need for access to grief-focused education and programming that helps communities respond compassionately and confidently.
Judi’s House/JAG Institute partnered with the New York Life Foundation to help support grieving children and families by creating the Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model.