BACKGROUND Few population-based studies exist on descriptive epidemiologic characteristics of rare heritable birth defects. The number of birth defect cases in the Texas Birth Defects Registry (one of the largest active birth defects surveillance systems in the world) enabled us to examine six different heritable disorders (aqueductal stenosis, infantile polycystic kidney disease, achondroplasia, thanatophoric dwarfism, chondrodysplasia/dwarfism not otherwise specified (NOS), and osteogenesis imperfecta) for a variety of descriptive demographic variables. METHODS The Texas Birth Defects Registry was used to identify infants or fetuses with heritable birth defects. Crude prevalence rates were calculated and Poisson regression was used to test the association of each demographic variable (e.g., maternal age) with each of the selected genetic birth defects. RESULTS White non-Hispanics exhibited higher rates of achondroplasia and osteogenesis imperfecta than other race/ethnic groups. Lower maternal education level and to a lesser extent, paternal education level, was associated with higher rates of several disorders. The birth prevalence rate for achondroplasia decreased from 1999 through 2006. CONCLUSION The use of a large birth defects registry provides a sufficient count of cases to perform some basic epidemiologic analysis on selected rare heritable birth defects. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.