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Data and Statistics

In the United States

  • Each year, about 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida. [Read summary]
  • Hispanic women have the highest rate of having a child affected by spina bifida compared with Non-Hispanic White and Non-Hispanic Black women:
    • Hispanic: 4.17 per 10,000
    • Non-Hispanic Black or African-American: 2.64 per10,000
    • Non-Hispanic White: 3.22 per 10,000
  • [Read summary]
  • In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that all women of childbearing age consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily to reduce the risk of having a pregnancy affected by neural tube defects (NTDs), such as spina bifida. [Read article] Subsequently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated adding folic acid to all enriched cereal grain products by January 1998. [Read article]
    • The prevalence rate of spina bifida declined 31% from the prefortification (1995–1996) rate of 5.04 per 10,000 to the post-fortification (1998–2006) rate of 3.49 per 10,000. [Fact sheet]
  • An estimated 1,000 more babies have been born without an NTD each year since fortification began. [Read article]

Chart showing prevalence of spina bifida from 1995 to 2006. See long description for detailed explanation of this chartD

Quality of Life

[Read summary]

  • Many adolescents and young adults with spina bifida report a high level of satisfaction with their health-related quality of life, are entering and succeeding at college life, and are participating in sports and other recreational activities.
  • Some adolescents and young adults are concerned about their future because of secondary health conditions they experience frequently.
  • While many parents of adolescents and young adults with spina bifida are satisfied with their children’s overall quality of life, they say their children face challenges in continence and getting around.