December 8, 2014 — The number of births to U.S. women decreased in 2013 for the sixth consecutive year, according to data released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics, the New York Times reports.
Birth Rate Declines Among Teens, Young Women
According to the data, which rely on birth certificates, there were 3.93 million births in the U.S. last year, a 9% decline after a peak in 2007 and down from the 3.95 million births recorded in 2012. The report noted that birth rates declined among teenagers and women in their 20s, while increasing among older women (Lewin, New York Times, 12/4).
Specifically, the report found that the birth rate fell by 3% for women ages 20 to 24 and by 1% for women ages 25 to 29. Overall, there were 80.7 births per 1,000 women in their early 20s in 2013 and 105.5 births per 1,000 women in their late 20s that year. Similarly, the birth rate declined among teenagers by 10% between 2012 and 2013, to a rate of 26.5 births per 1,000 teenage girls.
By contrast, the birth rate among women ages 30 to 34 increased by 1%, to 98 births per 1,000 women, and increased among women ages 35 to 39 by 2%, to 49.3 births per 1,000 women. The birth rate for women ages 40 to 44 remained unchanged, at 10.4 births for 1,000 women. Meanwhile, the birth rate among ages 45 to 49 increased by 14%, up to 0.8 births per 1,000 women (Kaplan, "Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 12/4).
According to the report, the number of preterm births and deliveries via cesarean section decreased in 2013. The largest decline in the C-section rate was among white women, who had the lowest rate of the procedure in 2013, after at one point having the highest rate. In 2013, black women had the highest rate of C-sections, while Hispanic women had a C-section rate just slightly higher than white women.
The report also found that general fertility in the U.S. -- measured as the average number of infants born by women ages 15 to 44 throughout their lifetimes -- hit a record low in 2013 at 1.86 infants. According to the Times, an average of 2.1 children per woman is the rate considered necessary for a stable U.S. population (New York Times, 12/4).
Separately, the report found a 2% increase in the number of twins born last year ("Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 12/4).