The impact of low birthweight on special education costs

J Health Econ. 1991 Oct;10(3):291-311. doi: 10.1016/0167-6296(91)90031-h.


We investigate the relationship between low birthweight, enrollment in special education and special education costs in the U.S. We use a sample of approximately 8,000 children aged 6 to 15 who are in school, calculating the probability of attending special education, holding constant individual, family and regional variables. Children who weighed less than 2,500 grams at birth are almost fifty percent more likely to be enrolled in any type of special education than children who were of normal weight at birth. This results in an incremental cost of special education of $370.8 million (1989-1990) per year due to low birthweight.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / economics
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Education, Special / economics*
  • Education, Special / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Learning Disabilities / economics
  • Models, Statistical
  • Prenatal Care / economics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States