U.S. Gets 'D' for Premature Birth Rate

March of Dimes Issues State-by-State Report Card on Preterm Births

From the WebMD Archives

Nov. 12, 2008 -- The U.S. gets a "D" for its premature birth rate, according to the March of Dimes.

The March of Dimes issued that grade today on its first Premature Birth Report Card, based on the nation's 12.7% preterm birth rate.

In its report card, the March of Dimes notes that the national preterm birth rate is "more than 60% higher" than the federal government's goal for 2010, and that the preterm birth rate rose "by more than 15% between 1995 and 2005."

The March of Dimes report card gives each state's grade; Vermont had the best grade, a B.

Here's how the states (plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico) rank in their preterm birth rates -- from best to worst -- and each state's March of Dimes grade, along with its preterm birth rate percentage.

  1. Vermont: 9% (grade: B)
  2. Oregon: 10.2% (grade: C)
  3. Connecticut: 10.4% (grade: C)
  4. New Hampshire: 10.5% (grade: C)
  5. Alaska and Washington state: 10.6% (grade: C)
  6. California, Maine, and Minnesota: 10.7% (grade: C)
  7. Massachusetts: 11.3% (grade: D)
  8. Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wisconsin: 11.4% (grade: D)
  9. North Dakota, South Dakota: 11.5% (grade: D)
  10. Iowa: 11.8% (grade: D)
  11. Pennsylvania: 11.9% (grade: D)
  12. New York and Rhode Island: 12.1% (grade: D)
  13. Hawaii, Kansas, and Nebraska: 12.2% (grade: D)
  14. Colorado and Virginia: 12.3% (grade: D)
  15. Michigan and New Jersey: 12.5% (grade: D)
  16. Ohio: 13% (grade: D)
  17. Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming: 13.1% (grade: D)
  18. Arizona: 13.2% (grade: F)
  19. Arkansas, Maryland, and Missouri: 13.3% (grade: F)
  20. Indiana: 13.5% (grade: F)
  21. Georgia and Texas: 13.6% (grade: F)
  22. North Carolina: 13.7% (grade: F)
  23. Florida: 13.8% (grade: F)
  24. Nevada: 13.9% (grade: F)
  25. Delaware: 14% (grade: F)
  26. West Virginia: 14.4% (grade: F)
  27. Tennessee: 14.7% (grade: F)
  28. Kentucky: 15.2% (grade: F)
  29. South Carolina: 15.6% (grade: F)
  30. Washington, D.C.: 15.9% (grade: F)
  31. Louisiana: 16.5% (grade: F)
  32. Alabama: 16.7% (grade: F)
  33. Mississippi: 18.8% (grade: F)
  34. Puerto Rico: 19.7% (grade: F)

The March of Dimes based those grades on CDC data from 2005, the most recent year for which final birth trends data is available. Preliminary CDC data for 2006 show a slight rise in the nation's preterm birth rate, from 12.7% in 2005 to 12.8% in 2006. That's an increase of 21% since 1990, according to the CDC.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on November 12, 2008



March of Dimes 2008 Premature Birth Report Card.

News release, March of Dimes Foundation.

News release, CDC.

© 2008 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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