September 21, 2023
Babies in Florida: The healthiest and unhealthiest counties for infants

Florida's Health

Babies in Florida: The healthiest and unhealthiest counties for infants

Mike Vogel | 7/27/2018

Major County Birth Rates

Women who live in rural, lightly populated counties in Florida are more likely to have babies compared to the state average. Women in the state’s two college town counties, Leon and Alachua, had some of the lowest birth rates. For every 1,000 women ages 15-44 in Florida, there are 60 live births. Nationally, South Dakota had the highest birth rate at 78.2 per 1,000 women 15-44. Vermont had the lowest rate, at 51.1

Major counties with above-state-average birth rates:

  • Duval 67.8%
  • Palm Beach 62.3
  • Broward 61.6

Florida’s Caesarean Line

Draw a line from Charlotte Harbor to the Jupiter Inlet. The rates of C-sections in every county south of that line are among the highest in Florida. Nearly half the babies born in Miami-Dade – 48.5% – were born by C-section, the highest rate in Florida. Nationally, a third of births are by C-section, a rate that’s skyrocketed since 1970 when only 5% were.

Major County – C-section Births

  • Miami-Dade – 48.5%
  • Broward – 42.6
  • Palm Beach – 38.3
  • Orange – 35.8
  • Hillsborough – 35.2
  • Duval – 33.3
  • Pinellas – 32.4


Most babies in Florida get breastfed. The lowest percentage of breastfed babies (56.9%) was in Hamilton County on the Georgia border. More than nine in 10 babies in Orange and Miami-Dade are breastfed, the highest rates in the state.

Percentage of immunized children ages 19 to 35 months:

  • Florida – 66.6%
  • U.S. – 72.2%

Moms Who Smoke

Nearly a quarter (24.7%) of the babies born in Dixie County had a smoker mom. The lowest percentage in Florida was the 0.5% in Miami-Dade.

Major County Mothers Who Smoke

  • Pinellas 10.1%
  • Duval 6.8
  • Hillsborough 4.4
  • Orange 2.7
  • Palm Beach 2.6
  • Broward 1.4
  • Miami-Dade 0.5

Obesity and Pregnancy

Around Florida, a fifth of babies are born to women who were obese before they conceived. The lowest obesity rate (17.5) was in St. Johns County south of Jacksonville. The highest (37.2%) was found in Gadsden in North Florida.

Major County – Obese Pregnant Mothers

  • Duval – 27.2%
  • Hillsborough – 26.4
  • Orange – 22.4
  • Broward – 20.9
  • Pinellas – 20.9
  • Palm Beach – 20.3
  • Miami-Dade – 18.5

Percentage of children overweight or obese:

  • Florida 36.6%
  • U.S. 31.2%

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