New NCHS report presents changes in state-specific birth rates for teenagers between 2017 and 2018 by race and Hispanic origin of mother.
Questions for Joyce Martin, Health Statistician and Lead Author of “Births: Final Data for 2018”
Q: What is new in this report from the 2018 provisional birth report?
JM: In addition to providing final numbers and rates for numerous birth characteristics such as fertility rates, teen childbearing, cesarean delivery and preterm and low birthweight, this report presents final information on teen childbearing by race and Hispanic origin and by state, births to unmarried women, tobacco use during pregnancy, source of payment for the delivery and twin and triplet childbearing.
Q: Was there a specific finding in the 2018 final birth data that surprised you?
JM: The continued decline in birth rates to unmarried women (down 2% for 2017-2018 to 40.1 births per 1,000 unmarried women), the fairly steep decline in tobacco smoking among pregnant women (down 6% to 6.5% of all women) and the continued declines in twin (down 2%) and triplet (down 8%) birth rates. Also of note is the decline in the percentage of births covered by Medicaid between 2017 and 2018 (down 2% to 42.3%) and the small rise in the percentage covered by private insurance (49.6% in 2018).
Q: How did you obtain this data for this report?
JM: These data are based on information for all birth certificates registered in the United States for 2018.
Q: What is the take home message for this report?
JM: Birth certificate data provide a wealth of important current and trend information on demographic and maternal and infant health characteristics for the United States.
Q: Why do you think the birth has dropped in the U.S.?
JM: The factors associated with family formation and childbearing are numerous and complex, involving psychological, cultural, demographic, and socio-economic influences. The data on which the report is based come from all birth certificates registered in the U.S. While the data provide a wealth of information on topics such as the number of births occurring in small areas, to small population groups, and for rare health outcomes, the data do not provide information on the attitudes and behavior of the parents regarding family formation and childbearing. Accordingly, the data in and of itself cannot answer the question of why births have dropped in the U.S.
Questions for Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Births: Provisional Data for 2017”
Q: What did you think was the most interesting finding in your new analysis?
BH: The report includes a number of very interesting findings. The general fertility rate, 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, declining 3% in 2017 and reaching a record low is certainly noteworthy. In addition, the continued decline in the birth rate for teens, down 7% from 2016 to in 2017, and reaching another record low, is very significant. The increase in the cesarean delivery rate following several years of decline is noteworthy as are the recent increase in rates of preterm and low birthweight births.
Q: Why does fertility keep going down in the U.S.?
BH: In general, there are a number of factors associated with fertility. The data on which the report is based comes from the birth certificates registered for births in the U.S. While the scope of this data is essentially all births in the country, and provides detailed information about rare events, small areas, or small population groups, the data does not provide information about the parent’s decision to have (or not have) a child. And so, accordingly, we cannot examine the “why” of the changes and trends in births.
Q: Does the decline in the Total Fertility Rate essentially mean fertility is down below “replacement” levels? Could you explain this in general terms?
BH: “Replacement” refers to a minimum rate of reproduction necessary for generation to exactly replace itself, that is, enough children born to replace a group of 1,000 women and their partners. For the total fertility rate, this rate is generally considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women. In 2017, the total fertility rate, 1,764.5 births per 1,000 women, was below replacement.
Q: Do the increases among women over 40 suggest a “new norm” in people waiting till much later to have children?
BH: Birth rates for women aged 40-44 and 45-49 years have increased generally over the last 3 decades. Given this, it reasonable to expect this trend to continue.
Q: Are the annual declines in teen pregnancy something that we are in danger of taking for granted?
BH: The birth rate for females aged 15-19 has decreased 8% per year from 2007 through 2017. For comparison, the decline in the birth rates for women aged 20-24 and 25-29 was 4% and 2% from 2007 through 2017. The decline in teen births is very noteworthy.
Q: Can you explain how the increases in preterm births and low birthweight are connected?
BH: Infants born preterm are also often, but not exclusively, born low birthweight and vice-versa. The causes of the recent upward shift in these rates are not well understood.
Interpregnancy Intervals in the United States: Data From the Birth Certificate and the National Survey of Family GrowthApril 16, 2015
A new NCHS report looks at data on interpregnancy intervals (IPI), defined as the timing between a live birth and conception of a subsequent live birth, from a subset of jurisdictions that adopted the 2003 revised birth certificate.
The data contains births to residents of the 36 states and the District of Columbia (DC) that implemented the 2003 revision of the birth certificate as of January 1, 2011.
Because this information is available among revised jurisdictions only, the national representativeness of IPI and related patterns to the entire United States were assessed using the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).
- Jurisdiction-specific median IPI ranged from 25 months (Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin) to 32 months (California) using birth certificate data.
- Unmarried women had a higher percentage of long IPI from the birth certificate and NSFG compared with married women.
- Consistent patterns in IPI distribution by data source were seen by age at delivery, marital status, education, number of previous live births, and Hispanic origin and race, with the exception of differences in IPI of 60 months or more among non-Hispanic black women and women with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Major birth defects are conditions present at birth that cause structural changes in one or more parts of the body. They can have a serious, adverse effect on health, development, or functional ability.
Birth defects – also known as congenital anomalies – are a leading cause of infant death that account for more than 1 of every 5 infant deaths. On the topic of infant deaths, the infant mortality rate decreased 3.8% in 2010 from 2009, to a record low of just over 6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The neonatal mortality rate decreased 3.1% in 2010 from 2009, and the postneonatal mortality rate decreased 5.4% for the same period. The infant mortality rate was 2.2 times greater for the black population than for the white population.
A few years back, NCHS posted a trends report entitled “Spina Bifida and Anencephalus in the United States from 1991-2006.” Spina bifida is a major birth defect of a person’s spine and Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that women of childbearing age increase consumption of the vitamin folic acid after it was found that it could help prevent spina bifida and anencephalus. In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized that all enriched cereal grain products be fortified with folic acid. Using updated birth certificate data available for the U.S. since 1989, NCHS followed a 16-year trend from 1991 to 2006 for the two neural tube defects.
After a significant increase in the spina bifida rate from 1992 to 1995, a significant decline occurred from 1995 to 1999. The rate continued to decline after 2000, and the 2006 rate was nearly the same as that in 2005 – the lowest ever reported
After a decline in the early part of the decade, the anencephalus rate was stable during the mid-1990s (1994–1997). The rate was also stable, but generally lower than in earlier years, during 1998–2002 . The rate for 2003–2006 was higher than for the 1998–2002 period.
For more information on birth defects, please click here.
For more information on how folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects click here.
NCHS birth tables with a variety of variables for selection are available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/vitalstats/VitalStatsbirths.htm.
By selecting the national or subnational (i.e., state and some county) levels, you can find specific statistics for national, state, and some county birth rates, fertility rates, method of delivery (vaginal or cesarean), length of pregnancy, birthweight, characteristics of the mother (i.e., age, race, marital status, education), prenatal care, and risk factors (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, and smoking). For journalists who need assistance, feel free to contact the NCHS press office.
New birth statistics released today by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reveal that the U.S. teen birth rate increased slightly in 2007 for the second straight year. The findings are published in a new report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2007,” based on analysis of nearly 99% of birth records reported to 50 States and the District of Columbia as part of the National Vital Statistics System.
The report shows that the birth rate for teens increased 1 percent between 2006 and 2007, from 41.9 births per 1,000 females ages 15-19 years in 2006 to 42.5 in 2007. Birth rates remained unchanged for younger females, ages 10-14, but increased for women in their twenties, thirties, and early forties.
For more information on births to unmarried women, preterm births, lowbirthweight, cesarean births, and more, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_12.pdf.
The teen birth rate increased in more than half of all 50 states in 2006, according to an NCHS report released today. Click here for the report.
The data show teen birth rates were highest in the South and Southwest, with the highest rate recorded in Mississippi (68.4), followed by New Mexico (64.1) and Texas (63.1).
Teen birth rates in 2006 were lowest in the Northeast in 2006, with the lowest rates occurring in New Hampshire (18.7), Vermont (20.8), and Massachusetts (21.3). The only states with a decrease in teen birth rates between 2005 and 2006 were North Dakota, Rhode Island, and New York.
NCHS reported in December 2007 that the teen birth rate for the nation as a whole increased for the first time in 15 years in 2006 from 40.5 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2005 to 41.9 in 2006.
The report also features birth data on a variety of topics, including state-based and national information on teen, unmarried, and multiple births, along with health data on smoking during pregnancy, cesarean delivery, preterm birth, and low birthweight.
This new report presents data for 2005 on check-box items exclusive to the 2003 U.S. Standard Birth Certificate of Live Birth. Information in check-boxes is shown in the following categories: Risk factors in pregnancy, Obstetric procedures, characteristics of labor and delivery, Method of delivery, Abnormal condition of the newborn, and Congenital anomalies of the newborn. You can read more about this report here…