St. Louis Scores an 'F' on March of Dimes Report Card


St. Louis received an 'F' on a March of Dimes report card that reviewed premature birth rates nationwide. - IMAGE VIA MARCH OF DIMES
  • Image via March of Dimes
  • St. Louis received an 'F' on a March of Dimes report card that reviewed premature birth rates nationwide.

Oh, baby.

The rate at which babies are born dangerously early in St. Louis ranks among the worst in the country, according to a new study. The March of Dimes gave the the Gateway City an “F” for premature births compared to the largest 100 metro cities in the United States.

Even worse, we weren’t even close to a D. We ranked 94th in the country — two spots below Newark, New Jersey. Seriously, Newark.

The March of Dimes review found 12.5 percent of kids here are born prematurely. By comparison, just 7.2 percent of babies are premature in Portland, Oregon, which ranked No. 1 on the list.

We’re also the weak link in Missouri, falling well behind Kansas City, Springfield and Independence. Overall, the state scored a C. Not a report card to hang on the refrigerator, but a hell of a lot better than flunking so badly that chumps in Grand Rapids can look down on you.

How worried should we be? Premature birth is the No. 1 killer of babies, the March of Dimes says.

“No baby should have to battle the health consequences of an early birth,” March of Dimes President Dr. Jennifer Howse said in a statement announcing the grades. “All babies, everywhere deserve a healthy start in life.”

The good news is we do way better — not great, but not embarrassing — when it comes to general health. The St. Louis metro area ranked 29th in the country in overall fitness, according to the ACSM American Fitness Index released earlier this year.

But those babies. Not good, St. Louis.

We welcome feedback and tips. Email the author at or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.