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For Immediate Release: November 17 , 2011
Contact: CDC Online Newsroom
(404) 639-3286

Teen birth rate hit record low in 2010

CDC report also notes first decline in C-section rate in over a decade

The birth rate for U.S. teens aged 15–19 years hit a record low in 2010, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Births: Preliminary Data for 2010,” from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is based on an analysis of nearly 100 percent of birth records collected in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. 

The birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 has declined for the last three years and 17 out of the past 19 years, falling to 34.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in 2010 – a 9 percent decline from 2009 and the lowest rate ever 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. 

Other Findings:

  • The total number of births in the United States declined 3 percent, from 4,130,665 in 2009 to 4,000,279 in 2010.
  • The overall fertility rate also fell by 3 percent from 66.2 births per 1,000 females aged 15–44 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. The percentage of births to unmarried mothers also declined slightly in 2010 to 40.8 percent compared to 41 percent in 2009.
  • The birth rate for women in their early twenties fell 6 percent in 2010.  The rates also fell for women in their late twenties and thirties. However, the birth rate for women in their early forties increased to 10.2 per 1,000 women 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 just under 12 percent of all births (11.99) – a 6 percent drop from 2006.
  • The low birthweight rate was essentially unchanged between 2009 and 2010 at less than 8.2 percent in 2010, but is down slightly from the record high of 8.3 in 2006.

The full report is available at:  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_02.pdf.

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