Births: Provisional Data for 2017

May 17, 2018

Questions for Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Births: Provisional Data for 2017

Q: What did you think was the most interesting finding in your new analysis?

BH: The report includes a number of very interesting findings. The general fertility rate, 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, declining 3% in 2017 and reaching a record low is certainly noteworthy. In addition, the continued decline in the birth rate for teens, down 7% from 2016 to in 2017, and reaching another record low, is very significant. The increase in the cesarean delivery rate following several years of decline is noteworthy as are the recent increase in rates of preterm and low birthweight births.


Q: Why does fertility keep going down in the U.S.?

BH: In general, there are a number of factors associated with fertility. The data on which the report is based comes from the birth certificates registered for births in the U.S. While the scope of this data is essentially all births in the country, and provides detailed information about rare events, small areas, or small population groups, the data does not provide information about the parent’s decision to have (or not have) a child. And so, accordingly, we cannot examine the “why” of the changes and trends in births.


Q: Does the decline in the Total Fertility Rate essentially mean fertility is down below “replacement” levels?  Could you explain this in general terms?

BH: “Replacement” refers to a minimum rate of reproduction necessary for generation to exactly replace itself, that is, enough children born to replace a group of 1,000 women and their partners. For the total fertility rate, this rate is generally considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women. In 2017, the total fertility rate, 1,764.5 births per 1,000 women, was below replacement.


Q: Do the increases among women over 40 suggest a “new norm” in people waiting till much later to have children?

BH: Birth rates for women aged 40-44 and 45-49 years have increased generally over the last 3 decades. Given this, it reasonable to expect this trend to continue.


Q: Are the annual declines in teen pregnancy something that we are in danger of taking for granted?

BH: The birth rate for females aged 15-19 has decreased 8% per year from 2007 through 2017. For comparison, the decline in the birth rates for women aged 20-24 and 25-29 was 4% and 2% from 2007 through 2017. The decline in teen births is very noteworthy.


Q: Can you explain how the increases in preterm births and low birthweight are connected?

BH: Infants born preterm are also often, but not exclusively, born low birthweight and vice-versa.  The causes of the recent upward shift in these rates are not well understood.

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Declines in Births to Females Aged 10–14 in the United States, 2000–2016

April 25, 2018

TJ Mathews, NCHS Demographer

Questions for T.J. Mathews, M.S., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author of “Declines in Births to Females Aged 10–14 in the United States, 2000–2016

Q: Why did you decide to examine trends in births to females aged 10-14 in the U.S.?

TM: We have published data on births to females aged 10-14 for decades but only once before have we published data specific to this group. We decided this significant decline was noteworthy and needed publishing.


Q: How have U.S. birth rates to females ages 10-14 changed since 2000?

TM: The birth rate to females aged 10-14 in the U.S. has declined 78% from 0.9 per 1,000 in 2000 to 0.2 in 2016.


Q: What differences or similarities did you see among race and Hispanic origins in this analysis?

TM: From 2000 to 2016, all groups observed declines in the birth rate for this age group. The largest decline was seen for non-Hispanic black females, a decline of 79%. This group had the highest rate in both time periods.


Q: Is there any comparable trend data on U.S. births to females aged 10-14 older than 2000?

TM: While we didn’t study trends in birth rates to 15-19 year olds in this publication we have been reporting significant declines for this age group over this time period.


Q: Were there any surprises in the findings from this report?

TM: First is the wide range of birth rates for this age by state. Using 2014 to 2016 combined the highest rate was seen in Mississippi, 0.7 per 1,000 while a handful of states had rates as low as 0.1. A second interesting observation is that the majority,  81%, of births to 10-14 years old occurred to those 14 years old.


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

TM: Birth and birth rates to females aged 10-14 in the U.S. have declined significantly since 2000.  Disparities by race and Hispanic origin and by state persist.


Health, United States Spotlight Infographics – December 2017

December 13, 2017

A new Health, United States Spotlight Infographic from the National Center for Health Statistics is now available online. This infographic features data on teenage childbearing, tobacco use, suicide deaths and obesity.

Health, United States Spotlights are infographics of selected health data available in Health, United States, the annual report on the health of the nation sub

mitted by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to the President and Congress.

Content includes selected indicators on important public health issues from the report’s four subject areas: health status and determinants, utilization of health resources, health care resources, and health care expenditures and payers. Like the report, the Spotlights display the most current data available and, where possible, trends over a ten-year period.

For some indicators, a different set of data years or combined years of data may be shown, depending on survey cycles and design changes. Data sources are identified for each health indicator to enable further exploration and include data systems from both the National Center for Health Statistics and partnering government and private agencies. Changes over time and differences among groups are presented using standard statistical techniques used in Health, United States.

Each Spotlight displays approximately four health indicators allowing users to visualize and interpret complex information from different data systems and Health, United States subject areas. Multiple infographics will be released throughout the year to spotlight important and relevant health data from Health, United States.

For more information on past and present infographics, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus/hus_infographic.htm.


Births: Provisional Data for 2016

June 30, 2017

Questions for Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Demographer, Statistician, and Lead Author on “Births: Provisional Data for 2016

Q: Why did you decide to change the name of the report from preliminary to provisional?

BH: report is part of the National Vital Statistics System, Vital Statistics Rapid Release provisional data series which replaces the preliminary report series to provide a consistent set of quarterly and annual data releases. Except for small changes in record weights, the same processing procedure was used for provisional as was used for the preliminary data and the data are comparable.


Q: How does provisional 2016 data on U.S. births overall compare to previous years?

BH: The provisional number of births for the United States was down 1% in 2016 from the final number of birth in 2015. The general fertility rate was down too from 2015, 1%, to 62.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, a record low for the county.

Birth rates declined for women in all age groups under 30 years between 2015 and 2016, to record lows for all groups, whereas the rates for women in their 30s and 40s rose.

The nonmarital birth rate declined 3% in 2016. In 2016, slightly more than 3 out of 4 women began prenatal care in the first trimester, down 3% from 2015. The cesarean delivery rate declined in 2016 for the fourth year in a row (to 31.9%). However, the preterm birth rate rose for the second year in a row in 2016 (to 9.84%) and the low birthweight rate was also up for the second straight year in 2016 (to 8.16%).


Q: How has the birth rate changed for U.S. teenagers in provisional 2016 data?

BH: The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 declined 9% in 2016 to 20.3 births per 1,000 women, with rates declining 11% for both younger (aged 15–17) and 8% for older (aged 18–19) teenagers. The 9% decline for teenaged 15-19 from 2015 to 2016 is atop of a continuous average decline of 8% from 2007 through 2014.

(The rates for younger and older teens declined on average by 11% and 8% from 2007 through 2014.)


Q: Was there anything in the 2016 provisional birth data that surprised you?

BH: Apart from the continued, unprecedented decline in teen birth, it is worth noting that women aged 30-34 have the highest birth rate (102.6 births per 1,000 women) in 2016 than any other age group. Since 1983, the rate for women in their late thirties was the highest.

In addition, it is also worth noting the rise in the preterm birth rate which was up again in 2016 (by 2%), after falling 8% from 2007 to 2014.


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

BH: The number of births and general fertility rate were down in 2016, as were the rates for women under 30 years of age.  The percentage of births beginning prenatal care in the first trimester and the cesarean delivery rate were also down in 2016, whereas preterm birth and low birthweight rates rose.


Stat of the Day – June 26, 2017

June 26, 2017


State by State Health Data Source Updated on NCHS Web Site

April 19, 2017

CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has updated its Stats of the States feature on the NCHS web site.  This resource features the latest state-by-state comparisons on key health indicators ranging from birth topics such as teen births and cesarean deliveries to leading causes of death and health insurance coverage.

Tabs have been added to the color-coded maps to compare trends on these topics between the most recent years (2015 and 2014) and going back a decade (2005) and in some cases further back.

To access the main “Stats of the States” page, use the following link:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/stats_of_the_states.htm


Births: Final Data for 2015

January 5, 2017

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.