Using a population-based register, this study sought to ascertain changes in the rate and severity of cerebral palsy (CP) in a geographically defined area of the UK among infants weighing less than 1500 g and born between 1984 and 1995. There were 417414 live births in the area, which included Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, and Oxfordshire. Of the 898 children with CP (526 males, 372 females), 194 (21.6%) weighed less than 1500 g at birth. The overall CP rate for neonatal survivors fell from 2.5 out of every 1000 in 1984 to 1986 to 1.7 in 1993 to 1995. The rate for those weighing less than 1000 g rose to 90 out of every 1000 neonatal survivors in 1987 to 1989 and then fell to 57 in 1993 to 1995. A similar pattern is seen among infants weighing 1000 to 1499 g at birth, the rate rising to 77 in 1987 to 1988 and then falling to 40 in 1993 to 1995. The rate of severe motor disability among infants weighing less than 1500 g also decreased (24.6 in 1984-1986 to 12.5 in 1993-1995). The relation of these findings to changes in perinatal care in the early 1990s is not known.