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African American Health

Down Syndrome

09/22/2004

Question:

How many African American newborns are born with down syndrome?

Answer:

The incidence of Down syndrome is the same for all races - about 1 in 800 newborns. So whatever the proportion of infants born that is African American - that should give a rough estimate of the number of African American infants with Down syndrome.

I found information about the 2002 year's vital statistics in the medical journal, Pediatrics. According to the article, there were 4,019, 280 babies born in the US in 2002. Of that number, 80% were white (3,177,626). And, there were about 15% black infants born (606,156). If about 1 in 800 infants of all races born have Down syndrome, you would expect that approximately 15% of those babies - who would be Black - would have Down syndrome. In this case the number would be about 120 African American infants born with Down syndrome in 2002.

I did not find any information about numbers regarding specific racial groups from the Down Syndrome Association, but you might contact them to see if they have better information. Their web site is below.

Arias E, MacDorman MF, Strobino DM, Guyer B. (2002). Annual summary of vital statistics. Pediatrics. 2003 Dec;112(6 Pt 1):1215-30.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University