The birth rate for U.S. teens ages 15 to 19 hit a record low in 2010, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The birth rate for teenagers ages 15 to 19 has declined for the last three years and 17 of the past 19 years, falling to 34.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in 2010 — a 9% decline from 2009 and the lowest rate recorded in nearly seven decades of collecting data. Birth rates for younger and older teenagers and for all race/ethnic groups reached historic lows in 2010.
The report also documented the first decline in the rate of cesarean deliveries since 1996. In 2010, the cesarean section rate was 32.8, down slightly from 32.9 in 2009.
• The total number of births in the United States declined 3%, from 4,130,665 in 2009 to 4,000,279 in 2010. The overall fertility rate also fell by 3%, from 66.2 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 44 in 2009 to 64.1 in 2010. This is the third straight decline for the overall fertility rate in the United States.
• The total number of births to unmarried mothers declined for the second year in a row to 1,633,785, down from 1,693,658 in 2009. The birth rate for unmarried mothers also fell, to 47.7 per 1,000 unmarried mothers in 2010 compared to 49.9 in 2009. And the percentage of births to unmarried mothers declined slightly in 2010 to 40.8% compared to 41% in 2009.
• The birth rate for women in their early 20s fell 6% in 2010. The rates also fell for women in their late 20s and 30s. However, the birth rate for women in their early 40s increased to 10.2 per 1,000 women in 2010 compared to 10 in 2009, making it the highest birth rate for this age group since 1967.
• The preterm birth rate declined for the fourth straight year in 2010, to 11.99% of all births a 6% drop from 2006. The low birthweight rate was essentially unchanged between 2009 and 2010 at less than 8.2% in 2010, but is down slightly from the record high of 8.3 in 2006.
“Births: Preliminary Data for 2010,” from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, is based on an analysis of nearly 100% of birth records collected in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories. The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_02.pdf.