An update on incidence of FAS: FAS is not an equal opportunity birth defect

Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1995 Jul-Aug;17(4):437-43. doi: 10.1016/0892-0362(95)00005-c.


The incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is now estimated at 0.97 cases per 1,000 live births in the general obstetric population and 4.3% among "heavy" drinkers. The general incidence is more than 20 times higher in the United States (1.95 per 1,000) compared to Europe and other countries (0.08 per 1,000). Within the United States, the incidence at sites characterized by low socioeconomic status, and African American or Native American background are about 10 times higher (2.29 cases per 1,000) compared to sites with a predominant middle/upper SES and Caucasian background (0.26 per 1,000). Based on racial background, the number of pregnant women in the U.S. giving birth to FAS children is 2,043 per year; if based on socioeconomic status, the number is slightly higher 2,366. Although race and SES are confounded in the U.S. studies, an examination of U.S. and European studies suggests that the major factor associated with FAS is low SES rather than racial background.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • United States / epidemiology