According to preliminary data, there were 62.9 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2014, up from 62.5 births in 2013, reflecting the first increase in the rate since 2007. Overall, U.S. births increased by 1.4%, from 3.93 million in 2013 to 3.99 million last year. Asian and Pacific Islander women showed a 6% increase in the number of births, while black, Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women reported a 1% increase.
When assessed by age, the birth rate for women in their 30s increased by 3% in 2014 while remaining stable for women ages 25 through 29. By contrast, in 2013, the birth rate for women ages 25 to 29 decreased by 1% (Shah, Wall Street Journal, 6/17).
Meanwhile, the report found that the birth rate among women ages 15 to 19 dropped from 26.2 births per 1,000 teenage women in 2013 to 24.2 births per 1,000 teenage women last year (Calfas, USA Today, 6/17). This represents a 9% drop from 2013 to 2014. According to the Journal, this record low represents a more than 60% decline since 1991, when the teenage birth rate hit its most recent peak.
The data also found the birth rate among women ages 15 to 44 for second children increased by 1% in 2014, while the birth rate for third children increased by 2%.
Overall, CDC found that the national fertility rate -- a measure of how many children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime -- increased from 1.858 to 1.862. According to the Journal, the U.S. needs a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman to keep the population stable, if immigration is not factored in (Wall Street Journal, 6/17).
Laura Lindberg, principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, attributed the increase in the birth rate to the end of the recession. "I think as people feel their paycheck is more stable, it feels like a safe environment to have a child in," she said.
However, study author Brady Hamilton said that researchers did not examine the reasons behind the increase, noting that it likely is linked to a "cacophony of factors."
Meanwhile, Lindberg added, "Even as the teen birthrate continues to decline, the majority of teen pregnancies remain unintended or accidental." She said, "There remains room for improvement to help teens be in charge of their own fertility and only get pregnant when they wish to get pregnant" (USA Today, 6/17).