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Low birth-weight babies in United States

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Why This Indicator Matters

Babies born with a low birth-weight have a high probability of experiencing developmental problems and short- and long-term disabilities and are at greater risk of dying within the first year of life. Smoking, poor nutrition, poverty, stress, infections and violence can increase the risk of a baby being born with a low birthweight.

This indicator is included in the KIDS COUNT Child Well-Being Index. Read the KIDS COUNT Data Book to learn more:
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Definition and Source



Live births weighing less than 2,500 grams (5.5 pounds).

The data reflect the mother’s place of residence, not the place where the birth occurred. Births of unknown weight were not included in these calculations. Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands are not included in the U.S. Average.

Data Source

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

1990 through 2022 state-level estimates are from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), National Vital Statistics Reports or can be accessed through the CDC Wonder system. City-level estimates are from public use micro-data files provided by NCHS.


S – NCHS reporting standards not met.
N.A. – Data not available.

Last Updated

April 2024