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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.


This is Healthy New Jersey 2020 (HNJ2020) Objective MCH-2a. Data for White, Black, and Asian do not include Hispanics. Hispanic ethnicity includes persons of any race.

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

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 3,264 grams or 7 lbs 3 oz. The overall low birth weight 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 low birth weight beginning in 2010. Low birth weight (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. LBW rates are lowest among mothers ages 25-29 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% to 9%.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The low birth weight rate among New Jersey mothers is 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 11/08/2017, Published on 11/08/2017
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, 19 March 2018 4:42:49 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 05:01:06 EST