How many newborns are screened in the United States?

Today, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have newborn screening programs. This means that nearly every child born in the United States or Puerto Rico is screened shortly after birth.1

  • All states currently require newborn screening for at least 29 health conditions. Each state's public health department decides both the number and types of conditions on its testing panel.2 Most states allow parents to opt out for religious or other reasons.3 Many states also offer supplemental screening programs that screen for disorders beyond those required by the state; costs for these supplemental tests are usually covered by insurance.
  • About 4 million infants are born each year in the United States,4 and most of them are screened.
  • Most states report participation of 99.9% or higher.
  • The latest CDC data show that about 12,500 newborns each year are diagnosed with one of the core conditions detected through newborn screening. This means that almost 1 out of every 300 newborns screened is eventually diagnosed.5
  • Early diagnosis and treatment in many cases can significantly improve the chances of healthy development and positive outcomes and nearly eliminates death from the conditions.

Who pays for newborn screening?

Although most states collect a fee for newborn screening, all U.S. infants go through newborn screening regardless of whether their family can pay for it.6

The specific cost of screening varies from state to state in part because the states test for different conditions and pay for their programs in different ways. Birthing centers and hospitals sometimes bill directly for newborn screening or include the fee in charges for maternity care. Many private and public health insurance programs pay the fees for newborn screening. For example, the State Children's Health Insurance Program or Medicaid can pay the fees for newborn screening for eligible families.

The NewSTEPs  provides information about the cost of newborn screening in each state and the District of Columbia.


  1. Baby’s First Test. Conditions Screened by State. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from 
  2. Baby’s First Test. About newborn screening. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from 
  3. President’s Council on Bioethics. (2008). The changing moral focus of newborn screening: An ethical analysis by the President’s Council on Bioethics. Washington, DC: President’s Council on Bioethics. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from 
  4. Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Osterman, M. J. K., Osterman, M.H.S., & Driscoll, A.K. (2017). Births: Final data for 2015. National Vital Statistics Reports, 66(1), 1–67.
  5. CDC. (2012). CDC Grand Rounds: Newborn screening and improved outcomes. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 61(21), 390–393. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from
  6. Baby’s First Test. (2012). Screening procedures. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from 
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