Babies with Low Birth Weights
What does this measure?
The proportion of babies born with low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams or about 5.5 pounds) out of all live births.
Why is this important?
Low birth weight is a leading predictor of neonatal death. Low birth-weight infants are also more likely than normal birth-weight infants to experience long-term developmental and neurological disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that maternal smoking is the cause of 20% to 30% of all low-weight births in the United States.
How is the region performing?
The proportion of babies with low birth weight in the region has remained fairly steady from 2000 to 2014 between 7% and 8%. The rate rose from 7.2% in 2013 to 7.5% in 2014, but is still lower than the peak of 7.7% in 2005. The region's rates have typically been slightly lower than statewide rates (excluding NYC). Dutchess had the highest rate in 2014 (8.6%) followed by Ulster (7.9%) and Orange (6.9%).
Among local areas for which data were available, Beacon and Kiryas Joel had the lowest rates at 7.8% and 5.1% in 2014, while Newburgh (11%) and Kingston (8.9%) had higher rates.
Notes about the data
Rates based upon small numbers in some of the geographies can vary widely, making it difficult to distinguish true changes from random fluctuations.