Mother’s Age at First Birth

July 19, 2007

One of the interesting demographic phenomena is the steady upwards creep in the age of women when they give birth to their first child.

In 1940 the age at first birth was 23.0 years. It dipped downwards to 21.5 in 1960 and was at 25.2 in 2004.

The data can be found here.


Births at home and births by midwife

July 6, 2007

Home birthing and the use of a midwife versus a doctor is often the subject of discussion on the pages of popular magazines.

As part of our study of births, the National Center for Health Statistics produces data on the place of birth and who is attendant at that birth annually.  Those data from 1990 through 2004 are here.


Intimate Partner Violence

June 26, 2007

The sad case of the murder of 26 year old Jessie Davis has gained national media attention.

Though the National Center for Health Statistics tracks deaths, and as a subset of that homicides, the feeder document for the National Vital Statistics System, in this case the death certificate, does not allow us to identify the number of persons murdered by intimate partners.

Our parent agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has done some research into the subject. In March 2005, three researchers, Jeani Chang, Cynthia J. Berg, and Joy Herndon from the Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, published a paper in the American Journal of Public Health entitled Homicide: A Leading Cause of Injury Deaths Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women in the United States, 1991–1999. This paper was reported on by the Washington Post.Currently the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has a fact sheet with summarizes current research on the subject.


Unmarried Childbearing

June 26, 2007

The National Center for Health Statistics tracks the number and percentage of births to unmarried women because it is a key social indicator.  According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics:

Children of unmarried mothers are at higher risk of having adverse birth outcomes, such as low birthweight and infant mortality, and are more likely to live in poverty than children of married mothers.

In 2004, 35.8% of all live births were to unmarried women. Compare and contrast that to 14.3% in 1970.

Numbers of births to unmarried women and their percentage of the universe of live births from 1970 through 2004 is available here.

Two good reports we have produced on the subject are Births to Unmarried Mothers: United States, 1980-92 and Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-99.


Maternal Mortality

June 13, 2007

In 1915, the maternal mortality rate was 607.9 deaths per 100,000 live births for the birth registration area. In 2003, the maternal mortality rate was 12.1 deaths per 100,000 live births in the United States. Despite this tremendous overall improvement, maternal mortality continues to be a significant public health issue and commands an enormous amount of attention.

This from our February 2007 report entitled Maternal Mortality and Related Concepts.

 This comprehensive report traces maternal mortality back to 1915. Download it and check it out.


Multiple Births

May 17, 2007

The twin birth rate rose 2 percent for 2004, to 32.2 twins per 1,000 total births, another record high. The twinning rate has climbed 42 percent since 1990 (from 22.6), and 70 percent since 1980 (18.9). The number of live births in twin deliveries rose to 132,219, nearly double the number reported for 1980 (from 68,339).

In contrast to the continued upswing in twin births, the rate of triplet and higher-order multiple births (triplet/+ birth rate) declined 6 percent for 2004, to 176.9 per 100,000, from 187.4 in 2003. The triplet/+ birth rate (the number of triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, and other higher-order multiples per 100,000 live births) soared by more than 400 percent between 1980 and 1998 (from 37.0 to 193.5 per 100,000 births) (125). Since 1999, however, this rate has been comparatively stable, trending slightly downward; the current year level is 9 percent lower than the 1998 peak. In 2004, 7,275 triplets/+ were born, a drop of 5 percent from the previous year, and the lowest number reported since 1997. Similar trends in twinning and in triplet/+ birth rates have been observed over the last several decades in England and Wales.

Births: Final Data For 2004

One of our most frequently asked questions is about multiple births. For your convenience multiple births since 1971 are available here.


More for Mother’s Day

April 19, 2007

The mean age at first birth leveled off in 2004 to 25.2 years of age.  According to our publication Births: Final Data for 2004 (see page 2):

The mean or average age at first birth for the United States in 2004 was 25.2 years, unchanged from 2003. Mean age at first birth for non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic women was unchanged between 2003 and 2004. Mean age at first birth was highest for API women, 28.4 years, and lowest for American Indian or Alaska Native women, 21.8 years.

You can see the gradual upward trend since 1970 in this chart (click the thumbnail to enlarge):

age at birth

You can view or download our report Mean Age of Mother, 1970-2000 or view/download a table containing the mean age at first birth from 1970 to present.


Mother’s Day

April 17, 2007

As Mother’s Day approaches we get the inevitable question about the number of mothers in the United States. Short answer is that we can’t tell you but the Census Bureau estimates there were 80.5 million mothers in the US. Follow the link to lots more facts on Mother’s Day.