Disability news, Accessibility Issues, Disability Issues, Accessiblity News

U.S. study finds prevalence of Down syndrome births up sharply

November 30th, 2009

Rates of Down syndrome, from Salt Lake TribuneFrom Pediatrics, Reuters/ABC:

The prevalence of Down syndrome at birth rose by more than thirty percent in 10 U.S. regions from 1979 to 2003, according to new work by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that nearly 12 babies per 10,000 born in 2003 had Down syndrome, as compared with about 9 babies in every 10,000 born in 1979. It found that Down syndrome was more common among Hispanics and whites than among African Americans, and was more often found in boys than in girls.

Dr. Adolfo Correa of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects, one of the study’s authors, told Reuters that the increase in prevalence is probably caused by the increasing trend toward later child-bearing. Women over 35 are five times more likely than younger women to have children with Down syndrome, he said.

Correa said the research couldn’t determine what effect widespread prenatal screening and selective abortion have had on the incidence of Down syndrome.

Because the incidence of Down syndrome at birth is increasing and medical advances are lengthening the life expectancies of people with the disorder, the researchers said, the number of people with Down syndrome is likely to increase over time.

The scientists concluded that more research is necessary to determine whether health services are meeting the needs of people with Down syndrome across the lifespan, and suggested the development of registries to track the development and health needs of people with Down syndrome throughout their lives.

The ten regions studied were Georgia (5 metropolitan Atlanta counties), California (11 counties), Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Arkansas, New York (excluding New York City), Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Arkansas reported the smallest prevalence of Down syndrome at birth, at 9.7 per 10,000, while Utah reported the highest, at 13.7.

See also:

In Utah, Down syndrome is more prevalent — Salt Lake Tribune A Utah expert on birth defects says the state’s higher incidence of Down syndrome births is likely caused by the ages and attitudes of mothers. Utah women are having children into their late 30s and 40s, he said, and are less likely to have abortions if the condition is diagnosed in utero.

The higher prevalence is “not because there is something wrong with Utah,” he said in an e-mail, “but is basically a function of family choices.”

(Graphic from the Salt Lake Tribune)


See also: Down syndrome births rise unexpectedly — By Joseph Shapiro on NPR

One Response to “U.S. study finds prevalence of Down syndrome births up sharply”

  1. Andy Says:

    After only seeing the chart I already thought about the point made in the last paragraph. I was thinking there may be a strong correlation between states being pro-life and the state’s rate of Down syndrome. This would seem logical with Utah, Iowa, Georgia, and Colorado topping the list. However, it would not seem to follow that California was ahead of states such as Texas and Oklahoma. This brings up the larger issue of why are pro-choice parents choosing to abort Down syndrome children? This should be a wake up call for us all to reexamine the stigmas and attitudes we are projecting.

Leave a Reply


Please copy the string uJ7cgo to the field below:


About the Site

More than 50 million people in the United States have disabilities, a number that is growing rapidly as the population ages. Experts say disability will soon affect the lives of most Americans. This website attempts to aggregate news and commentary about disability, and to document the efforts of people who are seeking new ways to address familiar challenges.

Join journalist Patricia E. Bauer as she seeks to bring you the best information about what's happening now and what it may mean for you and your loved ones.

Read More »



Read More »


Read More »


Read More »

School Restraints

Read More »

Prenatal Diagnosis

Read More »

Obama Administration

Read More »

My Articles & Essays

Read More »




Read More »


Read More »

Mailing List

Sign up for our mailing list!

RSS Our RSS Feed

  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007