Top 5 Takeaways

  1. High Birth Prevalence in Black Newborns: The study found a sickle cell disease (SCD) birth prevalence of 28.54 per 10,000 (one in every 350) non-Hispanic Black newborns across 11 states.
  2. Significant Social Vulnerability: Approximately two-thirds of mothers of newborns with SCD resided in counties with high or very high social vulnerability, indicating a need for tailored public health interventions.
  3. SCD’s Impact Highlighted: With 3,305 cases of SCD recorded among newborns, the condition remains a public health priority due to its complex health needs and the high cost of care.
  4. Geographic Disparities in SCD Care Needs: The study underscores the necessity of implementing tailored interventions to address social determinants of health and improve access to SCD care, particularly in areas with high vulnerability to housing and transportation issues.
  5. Role of Public Health Programs: Findings suggest Medicaid and public health programs must collaborate to understand and mitigate the impacts of social vulnerability on health outcomes for infants with SCD.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Mariam Kayle, PhD , .

Suggested Citation

Kayle M, Blewer AL, Pan W, et al. Birth Prevalence of Sickle Cell Disease and County-Level Social Vulnerability — Sickle Cell Data Collection Program, 11 States, 2016–2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2024;73:248–254. DOI:


The study analyzed data from 2016–2020 across 11 states within the Sickle Cell Data Collection program, focusing on the birth prevalence of sickle cell disease (SCD) and the social vulnerability of the counties where the mothers of newborns with SCD resided. The findings highlight SCD’s significant prevalence, especially among non-Hispanic Black newborns, and the profound impact of social vulnerability on the mothers of newborns with SCD, suggesting the need for public health interventions.


A cross-sectional analysis was conducted using state newborn screening program records, birth certificate data, and Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) quartiles to calculate the crude and race-specific birth prevalence of SCD. The analysis also explored the distribution of birth mother residence within SVI quartiles, focusing on socioeconomic status, household characteristics, racial and ethnic minority status, and housing type and transportation.


The study emphasizes the persistent public health challenge posed by SCD, particularly among non-Hispanic Black newborns, and the critical role of social vulnerability in shaping health outcomes for children with SCD. The insights gained on county-level SVI underscore the importance of targeted interventions to address social determinants of health and improve access to care for this vulnerable population.


The findings underscore the need for continued efforts to address the complex health needs of newborns with SCD through public health strategies that consider social determinants of health, particularly in areas with high social vulnerability. Tailored interventions to improve housing, transportation, and access to care are essential to mitigating the impact of SCD and advancing health equity.

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