April 27, 2016

hus15_cover_FINALThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released “Health, United States, 2015”. This is the 39th annual report card on the nation’s health, along with a special feature on racial and ethnic health disparities.

The special feature was inspired by the landmark 1985 Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health (Heckler Report), which documented significant health disparities among racial and ethnic groups.


  • The difference between the highest (non-Hispanic black) and lowest (non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander) infant mortality rates among the five racial and ethnic groups narrowed from 9.41 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1999 to 7.21 in 2013.
  • During 1999–2014 non-Hispanic black mothers experienced the highest percentage of low-risk cesarean deliveries (29.9 percent in 2014) among the five racial and ethnic groups while non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native mothers experienced the lowest (21.5 percent in 2014).
  • Among Hispanic mothers during 1999-2014, Cuban mothers experienced the highest percentage of low-risk cesarean deliveries among the five Hispanic-origin groups (41.4 percent in 2014) while Mexican mothers experienced the lowest (24.1 percent in 2014).
  • In 2011–2014 for children and adolescents aged 2–19 years, Hispanic children and adolescents had the highest prevalence of obesity (21.9 percent) and non-Hispanic Asian children and adolescents had the lowest prevalence (8.6 percent).
  • The difference for women between the highest (non-Hispanic white) and lowest (non-Hispanic Asian) percentages of current cigarette smokers among racial and ethnic groups narrowed from 17.5 percentage points in 1999 to 13.2 in 2014 (percentages are age-adjusted).
  • The difference between the highest and lowest percentage of uninsured adults aged 18-64, narrowed from a difference of 24.9 percentage points in 1999 (Hispanic adults compared with non-Hispanic white adults) to a difference of 19.9 percentage points in the first six months of 2015 (Hispanic adults compared with non-Hispanic Asian adults).
  • In 2014 among adults aged 18-64, Hispanic adults had the highest percentage of those not receiving needed dental care in the past 12 months due to cost (15.7 percent) and non-Hispanic Asian adults had the lowest percentage (6.3 percent).

Cesarean delivery – more popular than ever before

March 24, 2010

A report released yesterday from the National Center for Health Statistics showed that the cesarean rate rose by 53% from 1996 to 2007, reaching 32%, the highest rate ever reported in the United States. The 1.4 million cesarean births in 2007 represented about one-third of all births in the United States.

Although clear clinical indications often exist for a cesarean delivery, the short- and long-term benefits and risks for both mother and infant have been the subject of intense debate for over 25 years. Despite this, the rate continues to rise for women in all racial and ethnic groups, as well as for women of every age, as shown below.

Rates of cesarean delivery typically rise with increasing maternal age. As in 1996 and 2000, the rate for mothers aged 40–54 years in 2007 was more than twice the rate for mothers under age 20 (48% and 23%, respectively).For more from this recent release, visit

Births–Using the NCHS Vital Stats Tool

April 8, 2009


NCHS birth tables with a variety of variables for selection are available at

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.

Report card for Nation’s health focuses on young adults aged 18-29

February 18, 2009
Young adults in the United States aged 18-29 face a number of health challenges, including increases in obesity, high injury rates, and a lack of insurance coverage compared to other adults, according to the latest report on the nation’s health from NCHS.
  • Obesity rates have tripled among young adults in the past three decades, rising from 8 percent in 1971-74 to 24 percent in 2005-06.
  • In 2006, 29 percent of young men were current cigarette smokers compared to 21 percent of young adult women.  
  • In 2005, unintentional injuries (‘‘accidents’’), homicide, and suicide accounted for 70 percent of deaths among young adults 18–29 years of age. Three-quarters of the 47,000 deaths in this age group occurred among young men. 
  • In 2006, young adults aged 20–24 were more likely to be uninsured (34 percent) than those aged 18–19 (21 percent) and those aged 25–29 (29 percent). 

    For more visit

Teen births increase in over one-half of states

January 7, 2009

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.

New study examines quality of race and ethnicity data on death certificates

October 1, 2008

A new study has been released that compares race and ethnicity data on death certificates with U.S. Census Bureau information. The result? American Indians and Alaska Natives are poorly reported on death certificates (that is, funeral directors may not be classifying decedents correctly). Reporting is considered good for Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics and excellent for the white and black populations. To read more, click here.