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Health Indicator Report of Low Birth Weight

Low birth weight (LBW) increases the risk for infant morbidity and mortality. LBW infants are at greater risk of dying in the first month of life. LBW infants may require intensive care at birth and are at higher risk of developmental disabilities and chronic illnesses throughout life. They are more likely to require special education services. Health care costs and length of hospital stay are higher for LBW infants.

Low Birth Weight by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2016

Data Source

Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health


Percent of live-born infants delivered with a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams (about 5 lbs, 8 oz)


Number of live-born infants with a birth weight of less than 2,500 grams born to resident mothers


Number of live-born infants born to resident mothers

Healthy People Objective: Low birth weight (LBW)

U.S. Target: 7.8 percent
State Target: 7.7 percent

Other Objectives

'''Healthy New Jersey 2020 Objective MCH-2a''': Reduce low birth weight (LBW) to 7.7% for the total population, 6.9% among Whites, 12.4% among Blacks, 7.1% among Hispanics, and 7.9% among Asians.

How Are We Doing?

In New Jersey, the average birth weight is 3,260 grams or 7 lbs 3 oz. The overall low birth weight (LBW) rate reached an all time high of 8.4% in 2011. In 2010, for the first time, the New York City Department of Health provided birth weight data for New Jersey residents who delivered in NYC. This additional information is the cause of the sudden increase in LBW beginning in 2010. LBW rates vary widely across the state and by several maternal and infant characteristics. Black mothers are more likely to deliver LBW infants than are other racial/ethnic groups. The rate among Black mothers is higher for mothers born in the US than those born elsewhere. Among Hispanics, the highest rate is among those mothers who were born in a US territory (predominantly Puerto Rico), followed by those born in the 50 states and DC. The LBW rate among Hispanic mothers born outside of the US and its territories is significantly lower. LBW rates are lowest among mothers ages 20-34 years. Nearly all triplets are born with LBW, as are more than half of twins. As expected, LBW is negatively correlated with gestational age. Less than 3% of full term infants are of LBW. LBW rates for New Jersey's counties range from 6% in Cape May County to 10% in Cumberland County.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The low birth weight rate among New Jersey mothers is about the same as that of the nation as a whole.

What Is Being Done?

The [ Division of Family Health Services] in the New Jersey Department of Health administers programs to enhance the health, safety and well-being of families and communities in New Jersey. Several programs are aimed at improving birth outcomes.
Page Content Updated On 04/18/2018, Published on 04/19/2018
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 23 July 2018 0:21:41 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 23 May 2018 05:01:08 EDT