The number of babies born with low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams or about 5.5 pounds) expressed as a percentage of all live births.
Low birth weight is a leading predictor of neonatal death. Low birth-weight infants are also more likely than normal birth-weight infants to experience long-term developmental and neurological disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that maternal smoking is the cause of 20% to 30% of all low-weight births in the United States.
In 2014, 7.8% of babies in the 9-county region had low birth weights, on par with the statewide rate. Orleans and Monroe had the highest rates in the region in 2014 at 9.8% and 8.3% respectively. Other surrounding counties had lower rates, with the lowest in Livingston at 4.2%. The City of Rochester consistently had the highest rates of low birth-weight babies in the region, averaging more than 10% of births over the decade. The rate was 10.5% in 2014, down by almost 1 point from 2013.
Rates based upon small numbers in some of the geographies can vary widely, making it difficult to distinguish true changes from random fluctuations.