Declines in Births to Females Aged 10–14 in the United States, 2000–2016

TJ Mathews, NCHS Demographer

Questions for T.J. Mathews, M.S., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Declines in Births to Females Aged 10–14 in the United States, 2000–2016

Q: Why did you decide to examine trends in births to females aged 10-14 in the U.S.?

TM: We have published data on births to females aged 10-14 for decades but only once before have we published data specific to this group. We decided this significant decline was noteworthy and needed publishing.


Q: How have U.S. birth rates to females ages 10-14 changed since 2000?

TM: The birth rate to females aged 10-14 in the U.S. has declined 78% from 0.9 per 1,000 in 2000 to 0.2 in 2016.


Q: What differences or similarities did you see among race and Hispanic origins in this analysis?

TM: From 2000 to 2016, all groups observed declines in the birth rate for this age group. The largest decline was seen for non-Hispanic black females, a decline of 79%. This group had the highest rate in both time periods.


Q: Is there any comparable trend data on U.S. births to females aged 10-14 older than 2000?

TM: While we didn’t study trends in birth rates to 15-19 year olds in this publication we have been reporting significant declines for this age group over this time period.


Q: Were there any surprises in the findings from this report?

TM: First is the wide range of birth rates for this age by state. Using 2014 to 2016 combined the highest rate was seen in Mississippi, 0.7 per 1,000 while a handful of states had rates as low as 0.1. A second interesting observation is that the majority,  81%, of births to 10-14 years old occurred to those 14 years old.


Q: What is the take home message in this report?

TM: Birth and birth rates to females aged 10-14 in the U.S. have declined significantly since 2000.  Disparities by race and Hispanic origin and by state persist.

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