Clinical Issues and Statistics

U.S. Preterm Birth Statistics

An Average Week in the United States

  • 8,768 babies are born preterm (less than 37 weeks)
  • 1,462 babies are born very preterm (less than 32 weeks)
  • 6,071 babies are born low birthweight (less than 2500 grams or 5 1/2 pounds).
  • 1,082 babies are born very low birthweight (less than 1500 grams or 3 1/3 pounds).
  • In 2012, there were 455,918 preterm births in the United States, representing 11.5% of live births.
  • Between 2002 and 2012, the rate of infants born preterm in the United States declined 5%.
  • During 2010-2012 (average) in the United States, preterm birth rates were highest for women ages 40 and older (16.6%), followed by women under age 20 (13.5%), ages 30-39 (11.8%) and ages 20-29 (11.2%).
  • During 2010-2012 (average) in the United States, preterm birth rates were highest for black infants (16.8%), followed by Native Americans (13.6%), Hispanics (11.7%), whites (10.5%) and Asians (10.3%).
  • In 2005, the annual societal economic cost (medical, educational, and lost productivity) associated with preterm birth in the United States was at least $26.2 billion.

Data courtesy of National Center for Health Statistics, final natality data, and March of Dimes Peristats.

Join Our Mailing List

To join our mailing list, please complete the information below and click 'Sign up'.