Data & Statistics on Birth Defects

Birth defects are common, costly, and critical. Read below for the latest national statistics on the occurrence of birth defects in the United States.

For data on specific birth defects, please visit the specific birth defects pages.

In the United States

  • Birth defects affect one in every 33 babies (about 3% of all babies) born in the United States each year. [Read article]
  • Birth defects are the leading cause of infant deaths, accounting for 20% of all infant deaths. [Read article pdf icon[PDF – 994 KB]]

brain icon Brain/Spine Defects

Specific Defects

How Often Do They Occur?

How Many Babies Are Affected?

Specific Defects

Anencephaly

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 4,647 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

847

Specific Defects

Encephalocele

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 10,502 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

375

Specific Defects

Spina bifida

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 2,758 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,427

eye icon Eye Defects

Specific Defects

How Often Do They Occur?

How Many Babies Are Affected?

Specific Defects

Anopthalmia/micropthalmia

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 5,243 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

751

heartbeat icon Heart Defects

Specific Defect

How Often Do They Occur?

How Many Babies Are Affected?

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 1,859 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

2,118

Specific Defect

Coarctation of the aorta

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 1,795 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

2,194

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 15,696 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

251

Specific Defect

Double outlet right ventricle

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 5,997 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

656

Specific Defect

Ebstein anomaly

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 13,047 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

302

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 3,841 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,025

Specific Defect

Interrupted aortic arch

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 16,066 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

245

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 1,052 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

3,742

Specific Defect

Pulmonary valve atresia

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 7,104 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

554

Specific Defect

Single ventricle

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 13,351 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

295

Specific Defect

Tetralogy of Fallot

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 2,171 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,813

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 7,809 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

504

Specific Defect

Transposition of the great arteries

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 2,695 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,461

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 3,413 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,153

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 5,938 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

663

Specific Defect

Tricuspid valve atresia

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 9,751 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

404

user icon Mouth/Face Defects

Specific Defects

How Often Do They Occur?

How Many Babies Are Affected?

Specific Defects

Cleft lip with cleft palate

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 1,563 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

2,518

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 2,807 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,402

Specific Defects

Cleft palate

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 1,687 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

2,333

stomach solid icon Stomach/Intestine Defects

Specific Defects

How Often Do They Occur?

How Many Babies Are Affected?

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 4,144 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

950

Specific Defects

Rectal and large intestinal atresia/stenosis

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 2,242 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,756

baby icon Muscle/Bone Defects

Specific Defects

How Often Do They Occur?

How Many Babies Are Affected?

Specific Defects

Clubfoot

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 593 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

6,643

Specific Defects

Diaphragmatic hernia

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 3,591 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,096

Specific Defects

Gastroschisis

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 1,953 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

2,015

Specific Defects

Limb defects

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 1,943 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

2,026

Specific Defects

Omphalocele

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 4,175 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

943

dna icon Chromosome (Gene) Defects

Specific Defects

How Often Do They Occur?

How Many Babies Are Affected?

Specific Defects

Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome)

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 7,409 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

531

Specific Defects

Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome)

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 3,315 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

1,187

Specific Defects

Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome)

How Often Do They Occur?

1 in every 707 births

How Many Babies Are Affected?

5,568


* Mai CT, Isenburg JL, Canfield MA, Meyer RE, Correa A, Alverson CJ, Lupo PJ, Riehle‐Colarusso T, Cho SJ, Aggarwal D, Kirby RS. National population‐based estimates for major birth defects, 2010–2014. Birth Defects Research. 2019; 111(18): 1420-1435. [Read article]external icon