National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

CDC: Rates of Pregnancy, Abortion Decline in U.S.

CDC: Rates of Pregnancy, Abortion Decline in U.S.

December 14, 2015 — The rates of abortion and pregnancy in the U.S. declined in 2010, according to a new report from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, the Los Angeles Times' "Science Now" reports.

According to "Science Now," the report was based on data from CDC's National Vital Statistics System and Abortion Surveillance System (Kaplan, "Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 12/11). CDC also used information provided by the Guttmacher Institute and the National Survey of Family Growth (Walker, MedPage Today, 12/11).

Key Findings on Pregnancy

The report found that about 6.2 million women in the U.S. became pregnant in 2010, which equals a rate of roughly 98.7 pregnancies per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44 ("Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 12/11). Of those pregnancies, about 65% resulted in live births, 17.9% were ended via induced abortion and 17.1% resulted in miscarriage (MedPage Today, 12/11).

According to CDC, the number of pregnancies in the U.S. in 2010 was at the lowest level recorded since 1986, while the rate of pregnancy was the lowest level recorded since 1976. Overall, the rate of pregnancy was highest in 1990, at 115.8 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44.

The report found that the rate of pregnancy declined among several age groups, including women under age 30. Among women between ages 20 and 24, the rate of pregnancy was 144.6 per 1,000 women, marking a decline of 27% since 1990. Similarly, the pregnancy rate among women age 25 to 29 was 157.1 per 1,000 women, a decline of 12% since 1990. According to the report, teenage women reported the most significant decline in the pregnancy rate. The pregnancy rate among women ages 15 to 19 was 50% lower in 2010 than it was in 1990, while the rate among girls ages 14 and younger declined by 67% since 1990 ("Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 12/11).

Meanwhile, the pregnancy rate increased by 70% among women over age 40. It also increased among women older than age 30 compared with rates in 1990. However, the report found that pregnancy rates among women over age 30 in 2010 were lower than rates among that age group in 2006-2007 (MedPage Today, 12/11).

When categorized by race and ethnicity, CDC found that the pregnancy rate in 2010 was 135.1 per 1,000 black women of childbearing age, 118.4 per 1,000 Latinas and 84.1 per 1,000 white women ("Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 12/11). The report found that the pregnancy rate declined by 14% among white women, 26% among black women and 28% among Latinas.

According to CDC, preliminary data indicate that the birth rate continued to decline between 2011 and 2013 (MedPage Today, 12/11).

Key Findings on Abortion

CDC also found that the rate of abortions declined to 17.7 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 2010, compared with a rate of 29.4 per 1,000 women in 1990. According to CDC, there were 1.1 million abortions performed in the U.S. in 2010, down from 1.6 million in 1990.

Further, the report found that the rate of abortion declined among all racial and ethnic groups. Among white women, the abortion rate declined from 19.7 per 1,000 women between ages 15 and 44 in 1990 to 9.8 per 1,000 women in 2010. Meanwhile, among Latinas, the rate of abortion declined from 35.1 per 1,000 women in 1990 to 20.3 per 1,000 women in 2010. According to the report, the abortion rate among black women declined from 67 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in 1990 to 47.7 per 1,000 women in 2010. CDC did not disclose data on Asian women.

The report states that preliminary data for 2011 indicate the rate of abortion is continuing to decline ("Science Now," Los Angeles Times, 12/11).

ACOG Highlights Role of Contraception in Reducing Unintended Pregnancy

Mark DeFrancesco -- president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who was not involved with the study -- said the findings show the significance of contraception on reproductive health. "Ob-gyns see, first-hand, the tremendous impact that access to contraception has on a woman's overall health and well-being," he said, adding, "It proves that contraception and access to it remains of utmost importance; it is an essential component to women's health care" (MedPage Today, 12/11).