U.S. Rates Higher Than They Should Be

A recently released report grades the United States with a middle-of-the-road “C” when it comes to preterm birth rates. How did your state fare?

Mom and newborn baby

Preterm births in the U.S. have fallen, overall, for the sixth straight year. However, the rate is still considered to be too high across the board. The data from 2012 indicates that the preterm birth rate in the U.S. is 11.5 percent, which is a 15-year low. However, the March of Dimes, who released the report, said that the rate could be as low as 9.6 percent if prevention efforts were used universally.


There were certain disparities noted, particularly between races. For example, the data showed African American women had a preterm birth rate of 16.8 percent and Native American women were at 13.6 percent — but the rate of Caucasian women was lower than both, at 10.5 percent. Reasons for these disparities are unknown and not easily explained by socioeconomic or educational differences.

Also noted were the varying percentages between the different states. California, who has the highest birth rate in the U.S., earned an “A” with its 9.6 percent preterm birth rate. Other areas didn’t score so well, like Alabama, whose 14.6 percent preterm birth rate earned it an “F.”

How did your state rate?

Alabama 14.6   F
Alaska 9.2    A
Arizona 11.6    C
Arkansas 13.3    D
California 9.6    A
Colorado 10.4    B
Connecticut 9.7    B
Delaware 12.3    C
District of Columbia 12.8    C
Florida 13.7    D
Georgia 12.7    C
Hawaii 12.2    C
Idaho 10.3    B
Illinois 12    C
Indiana 10.9    B
Iowa 11.5    C
Kansas 11    B
Kentucky 12.7    C
Louisiana 15.3    F
Maine 9.2    A
Maryland 12.2    C
Massachusetts 10    B
Michigan 11.8    C
Minnesota 10.2    B
Mississippi 17.1    F
Missouri 11.7    C
Montana 11.2    B
Nebraska 11.1    B
Nevada 13    D
New Hampshire 9.3    A
New Jersey 11.2    B
New Mexico 11.5    C
New York 10.7    B
North Carolina 12    C
North Dakota 9.9    B
Ohio 12.1    C
Oklahoma 13    D
Oregon 9.1    A
Pennsylvania 10.8    B
Puerto Rico 16.9    F
Rhode Island 11    B
South Carolina 13.7    D
South Dakota 10.7    B
Tennessee 12.5    C
Texas 12.4    C
Utah 10.2    B
Vermont 8.7    A
Virginia 11.3    C
Washington 9.9    B
West Virginia 12.4    C
Wisconsin 10.5    B
Wyoming 10.8    B

More on preterm birth

Babies conceived in springtime at risk for preterm birth
Welcoming a preemie
Realizing your limits: Tips for new preemie moms


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