Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content

Important Facts for Birth Defects: Prevalence of Cleft Lip with or without Cleft Palate per 10,000 Live Births


A cleft lip occurs when the fetal components of the lip fail to fuse or join, which forms a groove or fissure in the lip. A cleft palate occurs when the palate fails to fuse properly, which forms a grooved depression or fissure in the roof of the mouth. Prevalence of cleft lip with or without cleft palate is the number of live-born infants with cleft lip with or w/o cleft palate per 10,000 live-born infants. (Live-born infants are the infants born with any evidence of life.)


Number of live-born infants with cleft lip, who may or may not also have a cleft palate.


Number of live-born infants.

Data Interpretation Issues

In January 2000, birth defects became a reportable condition in New Mexico; however, birth defects were collected prior to this date. The first year of consistent data is 1998. For cleft data, the most recent year of analyzed data is 2011. Data are collected on live births occurring in-state to NM residents. Therefore, live births that occur in NM among out-of-state residents are excluded. Case finding/identification occurs through review of birth and death certificates, hospital discharge diagnoses, records from pediatric specialists and prenatal diagnostic providers. Birth defect cases are ascertained up to age 4; however, the majority of diagnoses are made by age 1.

Why Is This Important?

Birth defects pose a significant public health problem. One in 33 babies is born with a structural birth defect in the United States. Birth defects cause one in five deaths among infants less than a year old and lead to $2.6 billion per year in hospital costs alone in the U.S. For cleft lip with or without cleft palate, infants with this condition can have difficulty feeding, and may use assistive devices for feeding. Children with cleft palates are at high risk for hearing problems due to ear infections. Cleft lip can be corrected when the infant can tolerate surgery. Surgical correction is begun as soon as possible with cleft palate.

Other Objectives

CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking, Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (EPHT NCDM)

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The national prevalence of cleft lip with or without cleft palate among births from 2004-2007 is 10.63 per 10,000 births.These data come from 14 birth defects surveillance programs: Arkansas, Arizona, California [8-county Central Valley], Colorado, Georgia [5-county metropolitan Atlanta], Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Utah. For more information, please see: Due to variability in the methods used by state birth defects surveillance systems and differences in populations and risk factors, state prevalence estimates may not be directly comparable with national estimates or those of other states.
The NM EPHT website is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number, 6 NUE1EH001354 (previously, 5 U38EH000949), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC or do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 15 October 2021 20:17:36 from New Mexico EPHT Tracking Public Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:49:04 MDT