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, 2018November 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.
Regional Differences in the Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2017October 25, 2019
NCHS report describes regional differences in the specific drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017. Data from the 2017 National Vital Statistics System–Mortality files were linked to electronic files containing literal text information from death certificates.
- Among drug overdose deaths in 2017 that mentioned at least 1 specific drug on the death certificate, the 10 drugs most frequently involved included fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, alprazolam, oxycodone, morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, and diphenhydramine.
- Regionally, 6 drugs (alprazolam, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, methadone, and oxycodone) were found among the 10 most frequently involved drugs in all 10 HHS regions, although the relative ranking varied by region.
- Age-adjusted rates of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl or deaths involving cocaine were higher in the regions east of the Mississippi River, while age-adjusted rates for drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine were higher in the West.
- The regional patterns observed did not change after adjustment for differences in the specificity of drug reporting.
Questions for Lead Author Sally Curtin, Health Statistician, of “Death Rates Due to Suicide and Homicide Among Persons Aged 10–24: United States, 2000–2017.”
Q: Why did you decide to focus on ages 10 through 24 for suicides and homicides?
SC: Suicide and homicide are among the leading causes of death for this age range. As there are almost no suicides below the age of 10, we began with age 10 and decided to go through the young adults age range, through age 24.
Q: How did the data vary by age groups?
SC: For the 10-24 age range, rates of both suicide and homicide are lowest for 10-14, intermediate for 15-19 and highest for 20-24. The patterns differed between age groups. For children and adolescents aged 10-14, suicide rates nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017 whereas homicide rates gradually declined over the period. For 15-19 and 20-24, both suicide and homicide rates increased, with the increase beginning earlier for the suicide rates.
Q: Is this the first time you have published a report on this topic?
SC: We have published some similar reports recently, but this is the first one which focuses on these two causes of death for this age range. Suicide and homicide are often referred to as the two major components of violent death.
Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?
SC: That both suicide and homicide have increased recently for 15-19 and 20-24 year olds. Homicide has only been increasing since 2014, but this is after years of decline whereas suicide began to increase sooner.
Q: Why do you think suicide and homicide death rates have risen?
SC: That is for others in the prevention and research community to answer. However, other studies have shown that some of the risk factors for suicide and homicide have increased. In particular, depression and other mental health disorders have been shown to be increasing in youth.