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Data Book for Policy Makers: Maternal and Infant Health in the United States

On an average day in the United States...

  • 10,830 babies are born
  • 1,249 babies are born preterm (less than 37 completed weeks gestation)
  • 865 babies are born low birthweight (less than 2,500 grams, or 5 1/2 pounds)
  • 329 babies are born with a birth defect*
  • 208 babies are born very preterm (less than 32 completed weeks gestation)
  • 154 babies are born very low birthweight (less than 1,500 grams, or 3 1/3 pounds)
  • 67 babies die before reaching their first birthday

The March of Dimes Data Book for Policy Makers: Maternal, Infant, and Child Health in the United States 2014 provides, in an easy-to-use resource guide, national and state data highlighting infant mortality, birth defects, preterm and low birthweight births, access to care for women and children, and health promotion strategies. The Data Book is aimed at public policy makers and others seeking quick facts. Interested in data on a specific state? Check out the Data Book State Pages.

For more detail, and regular updates of many of the data presented in this book, visit PeriStats, the March of Dimes interactive data resource.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, 2012 final natality data and 2010 period linked birth/infant death data. Prepared by the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, 2014.

*Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate of at least 120,000 babies born annually with major structural birth defects. Note: Numbers are approximations.

See Also: March of Dimes Foundation Data Book for Policy Makers and Data Book State Pages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What federal agencies are involved in premature birth research?

Multiple federal agencies support prematurity-related research but among the most engaged are the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health and Maternal and Infant Health Research within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Where can I learn more about the National Children's Study?

The March of Dimes has advocated for the study since its inception, realizing the critical information that will come from systematically examining the effects of environmental and other influences on the health and development of 100,000 children across the United States.

Why is the data collected from birth certificates important?

Information that is collected on birth certificates is vital to understand trends, to determine the infant mortality rate, and to guide decisions for intervention programs and for research. State laws require birth certificates to be completed for all births, and federal law mandates national collection and publication of births and other vital statistics data by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn more on the NCHS website and understand the strict privacy standards covering individuals.

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