Who is affected by Down syndrome

Down syndrome occurs in all cultures, ethnic groups, socioeconomic levels, and geographic locations.

  • About 2,085 babies in the United States were born with Down syndrome in 2006.1 That's about 1 out of 733 births.2
  • The risk of a 20-year-old woman having a baby with trisomy 21-type Down syndrome is 1 in about 2,000. By age 45, a woman's risk for having a child with this type of Down syndrome is 1 in 20.3


  1. Martin JA, et al. (2009). Table 25. Number and rate of live births to mothers with selected risk factors during pregnancy, obstetric procedures, characteristics of labor and delivery, and congenital anomalies, by age and race and Hispanic origin of mother: United States, 2006 section of Births: Final data for 2006. National Vital Statistics Reports, 57(7): 63–64. Also available online: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_07.pdf.
  2. Smith RP (2008). Down syndrome. In Netter's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2nd ed., pp. 410–412. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
  3. Roizen NJ (2007). Down syndrome. In ML Batshaw et al., eds., Children with Disabilities, 6th ed., pp. 263–273. Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks Publishing.

Last Updated: August 4, 2009

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