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Data & Statistics

  • In the United States, 3,000 pregnancies are affected by neural tube defects every year (1).
  • Hispanic women have higher rates of neural tube defects than non-Hispanic women in the United States (2).
  • Worldwide, there are more than 300,000 babies born with neural tube defects each year (3).
  • The total lifetime direct cost of care for a child born with spina bifida in the United States is estimated to be $706,000 (4).
  • Increasing folic acid intake among women of childbearing age can help prevent 150,000-210,000 of the more than 300,000 neural tube defects that occur each year in low- and middle-resource countries (5).

Neural Tube Defects Prevalence Changes Before and After Folic Acid Fortification


  1. CDC. Spina Bifida and Anencephaly Before and After Folic Acid Mandate --- United States, 1995--1996 and 1999—2000. MMWR 2004; 53(17): 362-5.
  2. Williams LJ, Rasmussen SA, Flores A, Kirby ES, Edmonds LD. Decline in the prevalence of spina bifida and anencephaly by race/ethnicity: 1995-2002. Pediatrics. 2005 Sep:116(3):580-6.
  3. Shibuya K, Murray CJ. Congenital anomalies. In: Health dimensions of sex and reproduction: the global burden of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, maternal conditions, perinatal disorders, and congenital anomalies. Murray CJ, Lopez AD, eds. Boston, Massachusetts: the Harvard School of Public Health on behalf of the World Health Organization and the World Bank; 1998:455-512.
  4. Grosse SD, Oyang L, Collins JS, Green D, Dean JH, Stevenson RE. Economic Evaluation of a Neural Tube Defect Recurrence–Prevention Program. Am J Prev Med. 2008 Dec:35(6):572-7.
  5. CDC. CDC Grand Rounds: Additional Opportunities to Prevent Neural Tube Defects with Folic Acid Fortification. MMWR 2010; 59(31);980-4.