Questions for Joyce A. Martin, M.P.H., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author on “Births: Final Data for 2015”
Q: Was there a result in your study’s analysis of births in the United States that you hadn’t expected and that really surprised you?
JM: Although small, (from 9.57% to 9.63%) the rise in the preterm birth rate (births of less than 37 completed weeks of gestation) was unexpected. This rate had been declining steadily since 2007.
Also of note is the decline in the triplet and higher-order multiple birth rate, down 9% from 2014 to 2015, and a decrease of 46% since 1998. The year 2015 also is the third straight year of declines in the rate of cesarean delivery (rate of 32.0% in 2015).
The continued, large decline in the teen birth rate (down 8% from 2014 to 2015) was also somewhat surprising, although not unprecedented. From 2007 through 2014, the teen birth rates had declined 7% annually.
Q: What is the difference between this new births report and the other reports your office produced on 2015 birth data, like the preliminary data report on 2015 births and the Data Brief on teen births?
JM: The annual report “Births: Final Data for 2015” offers substantially more detail (e.g., age, race and Hispanic origin of mother, state) on key topics, than does the report on preliminary birth statistics (“Births: Preliminary Data for 2015”). The final report also includes information on topics not included in the preliminary reports such as multiple births, attendant and place of birth, birth order and birth rates for fathers.
Q: How has the number of births in the United States changed in 2015 from previous years?
JM: The number of births in the United States declined slightly in 2015 (by 9,579 births to 3,978,497) from 2014. The decline for 2015 followed an increase in births for 2014, which was the first increase since 2007.
Q: What differences, if any, did you see among race and ethnic groups, and among various ages?
JM: Of continued concern are the higher risks of poor birth outcomes as measured by levels of preterm birth and low birthweight among non-Hispanic black mothers compared with total births and other race and Hispanic origin groups. For example, in 2015 the preterm birth rate for births to non-Hispanic black mothers was more than 50% higher at 13.41% than for non-Hispanic white women (8.88%) and nearly 50% higher than the rate for births to Hispanic mothers (9.14%).
Q: Did you observe any regional or state differences in this study on births?
JM: Differences by state were observed for many of the demographic and medical/health items included in the 2015 final birth report. For example, from 2014 to 2015, the general fertility rate–which is the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15–44–declined in eight states and was essentially unchanged in the 42 states and the District of Columbia (DC). In 2015, the general fertility rate ranged among states from 51.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in Vermont to 78.2 in South Dakota.
Also, increases in preterm birth rates were limited to four states from 2014 to 2015: Arkansas, California, Nebraska, and North Carolina. Rates declined in four states: Montana, New York, Texas and Wyoming. Nonsignificant differences were reported for the remaining states and DC.
Confidentiality Concerns and Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Among Adolescents and Young Adults Aged 15–25December 16, 2016
Confidentiality concerns can impact adolescent and young adults’ access to sexual and reproductive health services. Young people who are covered by their parents’ private health insurance may be deterred from obtaining these services due to concerns that their parents might find out about it. Similarly, confidentiality concerns may arise because youth seeking such services may not have time alone during a visit with a health care provider.
A new NCHS report describes two measures related to confidentiality concerns and sexual and reproductive health care.
- About 7% of persons aged 15–25 would not seek sexual or reproductive health care because of concerns that their parents might find out about it.
- For females aged 15–17 and 18–25, those who had confidentiality concerns were less likely to receive sexual and reproductive health services in the past year compared with those without these concerns.
- Less than one-half of teenagers aged 15–17 (38.1%) spent some time alone in the past year during a visit with a doctor or other health care provider without a parent, relative, or guardian in the room.
- Teenagers aged 15–17 who spent some time alone during a visit with a health care provider were more likely to have received sexual or reproductive health services in the past year compared with those who had not.
NCHS has released provisional estimates of selected reproductive indicators from birth data for 2014 through the second quarter of 2016. Estimates for 2014 and 2015 are based on final data.
The estimates for the first and second quarter of 2016 are based on all birth records received and processed by NCHS as of August 28, 2016.
Estimates are presented for: general fertility rates, age-specific birth rates, total and low risk cesarean delivery rates, preterm birth rates and other gestational age categories. These indicators were selected based on their importance for public health surveillance as well as the feasibility of producing reliable estimates using available provisional data. Future quarterly releases will include additional birth indicators from natality data.
Quarterly estimates are compared with estimates for the same quarter of the preceding year; for example, the second quarter of 2016 is compared with the second quarter of 2015. For comparability with rates for 12-month periods, the quarterly (3-month) rates have been annualized to present births per year per 1,000 population that would be expected if the quarter-specific rate prevailed for 12 months.
In addition, the rates and percentages for a 12-month period ending with each quarter (i.e., 12-month moving average) are presented to account for seasonality. Estimates for the 12-month period ending with the fourth quarter in each year can be interpreted as an annual provisional estimate for that year.
QuickStats: Gestational Weight Gain Among Women with Full-Term, Singleton Births, Compared with Recommendations — 48 States and the District of Columbia, 2015October 14, 2016
Gestational weight gain was within the recommended range for 32% of women giving birth to full-term, singleton infants in 2015, with 48% gaining more weight and 21% less weight than recommended.
Approximately 44% of women who were underweight before pregnancy gained within the recommendations, compared with 39% of women who were normal weight, 26% of women who were overweight, and 24% of women with obesity before pregnancy.
Weight gain above the recommendations was highest among women who were overweight (61%) or had obesity (55%) before pregnancy.
Two new reports released by the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) give insight into the use and methods of contraception among women aged 15-44.
The first report, Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15-44: United States, 2006-2010, focused on trends and variation in the use of emergency contraception and reasons for use among sexually experienced women. The data from the report found that young adult women aged 20-24, who were never married, Hispanic or or non-Hispanic white women that attended college were most likely to have ever used emergency contraception; about one in four had done so.
Some other key findings from the study include:
- Most women who had ever used emergency contraception had done so one (59%) or twice (23%).
- Almost 1 in 5 never-married women (19%), 1 in 7 cohabiting women (14%), and 1 in 20 currently or formerly married women (5.7%) had ever used emergency contraception.
- About one in two women reported using emergency contraception because of fear of method failure (45%), and about one in two reported use because they unprotected sex (49%).
The second report, Contraceptive Methods Women Have Ever Used: United States, 1982-2010, highlighted the number of contraceptive methods women have used since 1982 and reasons for stopping use. The report also followed trends among race, education, and religious affiliations.
Key findings from the report:
- The percentage of sexually-experienced females who have used the pill has remained stable since 1995 (82%).
- The percentage who’ve ever used Depo-Provera, a 3-month injectable contraceptive has increased from 4.5% of women in 1995 to 23% in 2006-2010.
- Ever-use of the contraceptive patch increased from about 1% in 2002 to 10% in 2006-2010. The contraceptive ring had been used by 6.3% of women in 2006-2010.