KIDS COUNT Checkup: A Look at Low-Birthweight Babies

Posted July 20, 2016
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog lowbirthweightbabies 2016

Researchers have long tracked the birth­weight of babies as a mea­sure of pop­u­la­tion health.

A low birth­weight, which experts define as babies born weigh­ing less than 5.5 pounds, is asso­ci­at­ed with cer­tain imme­di­ate and long-term health risks. For instance, low birth­weight babies are more like­ly to expe­ri­ence res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­tress and brain bleeds as new­borns and devel­op dia­betes, heart dis­ease and high blood pres­sure lat­er in life.

Today in Amer­i­ca, about 1 in 13 new­borns — 319,000 babies total — is born at a low birth­weight. This sta­tis­tic has fall­en by more than 28,000 new­borns in the last sev­en years, accord­ing to the KIDS COUNT Data Book. Despite this progress, Amer­i­can women are still more like­ly to have low birth­weight babies rel­a­tive to their coun­ter­parts in oth­er afflu­ent countries.

At the state lev­el, Mis­sis­sip­pi has the high­est inci­dence of babies born at a low birth­weight (about 1 in every 9) while Alas­ka has the low­est (1 in every 17).

Vis­it the in the KIDS COUNT Data Cen­ter for new birth data at the state and nation­al level:

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