QuickStats: Birth Rates for Teens Aged 15–19 Years, by Age Group — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 1991–2018

October 11, 2019

The birth rate for teens aged 15–19 years declined from a peak of 61.8 per 1,000 females in 1991 to a record low of 17.4 in 2018.

The rate has declined more rapidly since 2007. From 2007 to 2018, the rate declined from 21.7 to 7.2 for teens aged 15–17 years and from 71.7 to 32.3 for teens aged 18–19 years.

Source: NCHS, National Vital Statistics System. Birth Data, 1991–2018. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/births.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6840a7.htm

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Fact or Fiction: Are multiple births in the U.S. are on the decline?

October 3, 2019

Is Twin Childbearing on the Decline? Twin births in the United States, 2014-2018

October 3, 2019

Questions for Joyce Martin, Lead Author of, “Is Twin Childbearing on the Decline? Twin births in the United States, 2014-2018.”

Q: Is this the first time you have published a report on this topic?

JM: General information on twin births is published annually in the National Vital Statistics Report series “Births: Final Data.”   A number of special reports have also been published on the topic in the past.


Q: Why did you decide to do a report on trends in twin births?

JM: There appears to be a reversal in the direction of trends in twin childbearing in the US. After increasing for decades, the number and rate of twin births trended downward for 2014-2018.  This is important to public health because of the greater risk of poor pregnancy outcome, such as preterm birth and infant death, for babies born in twin pregnancies compared with those born in single pregnancies.


Q: How did the data vary by maternal age, race and Hispanic origin and state of residence?

JM: Trends differed by all of these characteristics.  Rates for women in their 30s and over declined by 10%-12% and rates for women 40 and over by more than 20%.  In contrast, there was no significant change in trends for women in their twenties.  Among the three race/Hispanic origin groups studied, twin childbearing declined for 2014-2018 among non-Hispanic white women but were essentially unchanged among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic women. Rates declined significantly in 17 states and increased in only three states.


Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?

JM: The steady decline in twinning from 2014 through 2018 after many years of increases was surprising as was the fairly large declines among women aged 30 and over.


Q: Do you foresee the decline in twins continuing?

JM: As fertility procedures continue to improve, twin births, and especially higher-order multiple births, would be expected to continue to decline.  However, it is important to note that older mothers, those aged 35 and over, are more likely to have a twin delivery without the use of fertility therapies.  The older age of women at birth may also affect twining rates.


Maternal Characteristics and Infant Outcomes in Appalachia and the Delta

September 25, 2019

Questions for Anne Driscoll, Lead Author of ”Maternal Characteristics and Infant Outcomes in Appalachia and the Delta.”

Q: Why did you decide to do focus your report on maternal characteristics and infant outcomes in the Appalachia and Delta?

AD: The general goal was to explore regional patterns in health risk factors and outcomes.


Q: How did the data vary by region?

AD: In general, maternal characteristics and infant outcomes were the worst in the Delta, followed by Appalachia; they were generally best in the rest of the U.S.


Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?

AD: Although outcomes did vary across regions for infants born to non-Hispanic white and black women, they did differ between Appalachia and the Delta for infants of Hispanic women and usually did not differ between these two regions and the rest of the U.S.


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

AD: Differences in maternal characteristics account for some, but not all, of the differences in infant outcomes between Appalachia, the Delta and the rest of the U.S.


Q: Why do you think there are differences in maternal characteristics among the Delta, Appalachia and the rest of the U.S.?

AD: Appalachia and the Delta are two of the most disadvantaged regions in the U.S., with higher poverty, poorer overall health (behaviors and outcomes) and lower educational levels than the U.S. as a whole. We would expect that the characteristics of women giving birth in these regions to reflect these patterns (e.g., lower educational attainment, higher rates of obesity and smoking, and higher rates of WIC receipt and Medicaid).


Births: Provisional Data for 2018

May 15, 2019

Questions for Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Births: Provisional Data for 2018.”

Q: How does the provisional 2018 birth data compare to previous years?

BH: The  number of births, the general fertility rate, the total fertility rate, birth rates for women aged 15-34, the cesarean delivery rate and the low-risk cesarean delivery rate declined from 2017 to 2018, whereas the birth rates for women aged 35-44 and the preterm birth rate rose.


Q: When do you expect the final 2018 birth report to come out?

BH: The 2018 final birth report is scheduled for release in the fall of 2019.


Q: How did the data vary by age and race?

BH:  Birth measures shown in the report varied widely by age and race and Hispanic origin groups. Birth rates ranged from 0.2 births per 1,000 females aged 10-14 to 99.6 births per 1,000 women aged 30-34. By race and Hispanic origin, the cesarean delivery rate ranged from 28.7% of births for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native women to 36.1% for non-Hispanic black women and the preterm birth rate ranged from 8.56% for non-Hispanic Asian women to 14.12% for non-Hispanic black women.


Q: Was there a specific finding in the provisional data that surprised you?

BH: The report includes a number of interesting findings. The record lows reached for the general fertility rate, the total fertility rate and birth rates for females aged 15-19, 15-17, 18-19, and 20-24 are noteworthy. In addition, the magnitude of the continued decline in the birth rate for teens aged 15-19, down 7% from 2017 to 2018, is also historic.


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

BH:  The number of births for the United States was down 2% from 2017 to 2018, as were the general fertility rate and the total fertility rate, with both at record lows in 2018. Birth rates declined for nearly all age groups of women under 35, but rose for women in their late 30s and early 40s. The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 was down 7% from 2017 to 2018. The cesarean delivery rate and low-risk cesarean delivery rate were down in 2018. The preterm birth rate rose for the fourth year in a row in 2018.


Q: Do you anticipate this drop will continue?

BH: The factors associated with family formation and childbearing are numerous and complex. The data on which the report are based come from all birth certificates registered in the U.S. While the scope of these data is wide, with detailed demographic and health   information on rare events, small areas, or small population groups, the data do not provide information on the attitudes and behavior of the parents regarding family formation and childbearing. Accordingly, these data do not answer the question of why the number of births dropped in 2018 or if the decline will continue.


Educational Attainment of Mothers Aged 25 Years and Over: United States, 2017

February 21, 2019

Questions for Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Educational Attainment of Mothers Aged 25 Years and Over: United States, 2017.”

Q: Why study education attainment of mothers in the United States?

BH: Educational attainment of the mother is considered an important measure of socioeconomic status. Maternal education has been shown to be associated with the number of births per woman, timing of childbearing, contraceptive use, and risk of adverse birth outcomes. Women with higher educational attainment have been shown to be more likely to desire and give birth to fewer children and are less likely to engage in behaviors detrimental to their health and pregnancy.


Q: How did you obtain data on educational attainment of mothers?

BH: Information on the educational attainment of mother shown in the report is based on data from 100% of the birth certificates filed in the states and District of Columbia in 2017. The birth certificate includes a question on the highest degree or level of school completed by the mother at the time of delivery. Data collected from the birth certificates on this and other items are provided to the National Center for Health Statistics.


Q: How did educational attainment of mother vary by race and state in 2017?

BH: Large differences in maternal educational attainment are observed by race and Hispanic origin and by state. For example, for mothers aged 25 and over with a Bachelor’s or advanced degree in 2017,  levels ranged from a low of 12.7% and 13.2% for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander mothers to a high of 67.9% for non-Hispanic Asian mothers. By state, the percentage of births to mothers aged 25 and over with a Bachelor’s or advanced degree ranged from a low of 26.6% for Nevada to a high of 58.5% for the District of Columbia.


Q: Do you have trend data on educational attainment of mothers that goes back 10 or 20 years?

BH: No, this report is the first to present information on the educational attainment of mothers in the United States in more than 20 years. During this time, comparable data on the education level of mothers were not available for all of the states and District of Columbia and so national data could not be produced. Comparable national data on the education level became available only recently, in 2016. The last report to present national data on the educational attainment was published in 1997 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/mvsr/supp/mv45_10s.pdf .


Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?

BH: The range in the mean number of live births by level of educational attainment is certainly noteworthy. The difference in the mean between women with less than a 12th grade education with no diploma and women with an advanced degree is nearly 1 whole birth. In addition, the wide range in the percentage of births by educational attainment for the race and Hispanic origin groups and state, mentioned above, were also notable.


Total Fertility Rates by State and Race and Hispanic Origin: United States, 2017

January 10, 2019

Questions for Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Total Fertility Rates by State and Race and Hispanic Origin: United States, 2017

Q: Why did you decide to do a report on the total fertility rate in the United States?

BH: We produced this report because we were interested in what differences there were in the total fertility rate (TFR) by state and population group (race and Hispanic origin). This report presents the TFR for each state in 2017, both overall and for the three largest population groups — non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic. As noted in the report, fertility levels affect the size and composition of the population, and family size is associated with female labor force participation and economic growth, as well as other social and economic changes.


Q: Can you explain what the total fertility rate is and how is it different from the general fertility rate and crude birth rate?

BH: The total fertility rate is the number of births expected for a (hypothetical) group of 1,000 women over their lifetime, assuming the current age-specific birth rate hold. The crude birth rate and general fertility rate measure the number of births occurring for either the whole population or the population of women in their childbearing years (ages 15-44 year) in a given year. The TFR, on the other hand, estimates the number of births for women over a generation. For that reason, the TFR can be used to ascertain whether the number of births is at “replacement,” that is, the level at which a given group of women can exactly replace themselves (generally considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women for the TFR).


Q: How did total fertility rates vary by state and race in 2017?

BH: Differences in the total fertility rates among the states by race and Hispanic origin were considerable. For non-Hispanic white women, the TFR for Utah (2,099.5, the highest) was more than double the TFR for the District of Columbia (1,012.0, the lowest). For non-Hispanic black women, the TFR for Maine (4,003.5) was 3.5 times higher than that for Wyoming (1,146.0). For Hispanic women, the TFR for Alabama (3,085.0) was 2.6 times higher than the TFR for Vermont (1,200.5). In addition, there were no states with TFRs above replacement for non-Hispanic white women in 2017. However, for non-Hispanic black women, the TFRs for 12 states was above replacement. The TFRs for Hispanic women were above replacement in 29 states.


Q: Do you have trend data on total fertility rates that goes back 10 or 20 years?

BH: The report includes only data for 2017. However, trend data for the total fertility rate at the national level, by race and Hispanic origin group, are available from Births: Final Data for 2017 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr67/nvsr67_08-508.pdf), Births: Final Data for 2015 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_01.pdf), and Trends and Variations in Reproduction and Intrinsic Rates: United States, 1990-2014 (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_02.pdf). In general, the TFR has declined over the last six decades, with the TFR being below replacement for all but two years (2006 and 2007) since 1971. In 2017, the rates for all groups were below replacement.


Q: Is there a finding in this report that surprised you?

BH: The range between the highest and lowest total fertility rate among the states by race and Hispanic origin groups is noteworthy. As we mentioned, for non-Hispanic white women, the TFR for Utah was more than double the TFR for the District of Columbia. For non-Hispanic black women, the TFR for Maine was 3.5 times higher than that for Wyoming. For Hispanic women, the TFR for Alabama was 2.6 times higher than the TFR for Vermont.