Births: Final Data for 2018

November 27, 2019

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.


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

November 8, 2019

In 2018, the U.S. birth rate for teens aged 15–19 years was 17.4 births per 1,000 females, with rates generally lower in the Northeast and higher across the southern states.

Teen birth rates ranged from 7.2 in Massachusetts, 8.0 in New Hampshire, 8.3 in Connecticut, and 8.8 in Vermont to rates of 30.4 in Arkansas, 27.8 in Mississippi, 27.5 in Louisiana, 27.3 in Kentucky, and 27.2 in Oklahoma.

Source: National Vital Statistics System. Birth data, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/births.htm.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6844a5.htm


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


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.