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Low birth-weight babies by race and ethnicity in United States

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Definition and Source



Live births weighing less than 2,500 grams (5.5 pounds) by race and ethnicity.

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.

It should be noted that these figures represent the race of the mother, not the race of the child. This is important because increasing numbers of children are born to parents of different races. On birth certificates, as on most federal data collection forms, the question regarding whether a person is Hispanic is separate from the question asking whether a person is white, black, Asian or Pacific Islander, or American Indian. Thus, people are asked to select a racial group and to indicate whether they are of Hispanic origin. Race/ethnic groups represented in this table are not mutually exclusive.

The category of white includes only non-Hispanic white. The categories Black or African American, American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Two or more races include both Hispanic and non-Hispanic. Those in the Hispanic or Latino category include those who may have identified as being in one of the non-White race groups.


Data Source

PRB analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data: National Center for Health Statistics, CDC Wonder 2016-2021 birth data.


N.A. - Data not available.
S - Data suppressed due to small number of cases

Last Updated

April 2023