Questions for Joyce A. Martin, M.P.H., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author on, “Births: Final Data for 2016.”
Q: Are there any data that are new in this report compared with previous annual final birth reports?
JM: Yes! This report includes new national data on a number of items including prenatal care utilization in the US, whether the mother received WIC food during pregnancy, cigarette smoking before and during pregnancy, maternal body mass index of overweight or obese, primary cesarean and vaginal birth after previous cesarean delivery and source of payment for the delivery.
Q: Is the U.S. birth rate going up or down in 2016?
JM: Both the number of births and the general fertility rate (births per 1,000 women aged 15-44) declined in the US from 2015 to 2016.
Q: Are teen births in the U.S. continuing to decline?
JM: Yes, the teen birth rate declined 9% from 2015 to another record low.
Q: What did the findings show for the mean age of U.S. mothers at first birth?
JM: The 2016 mean or average age of mothers having a first birth was a record high in 2016, at 26.6 years.
Q: What is the take home message in this report?
JM: Births are down overall and among women 15 to 29 years of age. The cesarean delivery rate continued to decline but rates of preterm birth and low birthweight are on the rise. Birth certificate data are a rich source for important information on mothers and their newborns.