-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- The number of births in
the United States has declined since reaching an all-time high in
2007, according to a new federal government report.
Data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, part
of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show that births
fell by 4 percent between 2007 and 2009 -- from 4,316,233 to
4,131,019. The researchers noted that a preliminary count of births
through June 2010 indicates continuing declines.
The drop in the birth rate was described in the report as
"notable, but not truly of historic proportions" compared with the
declines in the early 20th century and in the 1960s and early
1970s. However, the report found that births declined among all
women younger than 40, among all major racial and ethnic groups,
and in most states, although to varying degrees.
"Some researchers have linked the recent fertility decline to the economic recession, but it is not possible with birth data alone to identify the factors shaping the fertility rate decline," the researchers wrote in their report, released March 31.
The analysis of birth data found that the decline in the U.S.
fertility rate -- based on births among women in their childbearing
years, ages 15 to 44 -- between 2007 and 2009 was the largest for
any two-year period in more than 30 years. From 2007 to 2009, the
rate fell 4 percent, from 69.5 to 66.7 births per 1,000 women.
Birth rates declined for all women younger than 40, but the rate
fell 9 percent, to 96.3 births per 1,000 women, among those 20 to
24 years old -- the lowest rate ever recorded for this age group,
according to the report. The birth rate fell 6 percent among women
25 to 29 years old and 2 percent among women in their 30s.
The birth rate among teens 15 to 19 years old declined 8 percent
to 39.1 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate ever recorded for
this age group as well, the report noted.
The only increase in birth rates occurred among women in their
40s, rising 6 percent among women 40 to 44 years old. Births in
this age group, however, accounted for just 3 percent of all U.S.
births in 2009.
Among racial and ethnic groups, the birth rate decline was
greatest among Hispanic women, falling 9 percent, to 93.3 per 1,000
women. The rate fell 3 percent among whites, American Indians and
Alaska Natives and 4 percent among blacks, Asians and Pacific
The study also found that fertility rates decreased or were
unchanged in every state and the District of Columbia, with
declines ranging from 1 percent in New York and Oklahoma to 10
percent or more in Arizona and Nevada. The largest declines in
fertility rates were in western and southwestern states.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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