New Report Revises Birth and Fertility Rates for the 1990s Uses 2000 Census Population Estimates to Improve Accuracy

For Release: August 4, 2003

Contact: NCHS/CDC Public Affairs, (301) 458-4800


Revised Birth and Fertility Rates for the 1990s and New Rates for Hispanic Populations, 2000 and 2001: United States. NVSR Report 51, No. 12. 94 pp. (PHS) 2003-1120. [PDF – 5.5 MB]

Researchers, demographers, and others who use birth and fertility data now have an important new resource, which provides the latest, most accurate information for the 1990s for all population groups and for 2000 and 2001 for Hispanic women, one of the groups most affected by the adjustment of the rates. Birth and fertility rates were revised for each year, using populations consistent with the 2000 census, rather than estimates of populations based on the 1990 census.

This report presents rates for the 1990s through 2001 by age, marital status, race, and Hispanic origin of mother; by age and race of father; birth order of child; and State. This report also presents new birth and fertility rates for 2000 and 2001 for Hispanic subgroups (Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban). The report compares the revised trends with previously published rates based on the 1990 census.

Revised population-based birth and fertility rates from 1991 to 1999, based on the 2000 census, are with few exceptions lower than the rates previously published based on populations estimated from the 1990 census. As expected, the differences in rates for American Indian, Hispanics, and Asian or Pacific Islanders were considerable. However, revised rates for most other population subgroups (i.e., non-Hispanic whites and blacks) differed little from those previously published. Regardless of the magnitude, the differences between the 2000 based- and the 1990 based-rates progressively diverged through time so that previously published trends were generally retained but lower. Because of this shift, especially for Hispanic women, the differentials in fertility among population subgroups remain, but were somewhat reduced.

The new report shows that the major trends previously reported — such as the dramatic decline in teenage births — were also present when the rates were revised. Revised birth rates confirm the steady declines over the decade of the 1990s. Rates fell to historic low levels, with sizable declines recorded for teenagers in all age and population groups. The overall rate for teenagers 15-19 years fell 27 percent between 1991 and 2001. The rate for black teenagers plummeted 37 percent. The downward trends for American Indian and Hispanic teenagers are much larger on the basis of the revised rates compared with the previously published rates. The birth rate for American Indian teenagers fell 33 percent and the rate for Hispanic teenagers dropped 17 percent, according to the revised rates compared with decreases of 22 percent and 13 percent, respectively, based on postcensal population estimates derived from the 1990 census.

Births for unmarried women also mirrored the previously published pattern, however the revised rates narrow the differences among population groups.

Birth and fertility rates for most States paralleled those observed at the national level. State birth rates generally declined through 1997 but from 1997 through 2001 tended to show considerable annual fluctuation. In 2001 the revised birth rates were lower than the previously published rates for every State.

“Revised Birth and Fertility Rates for the 1990s and New Rates for Hispanic Populations, 2000 and 2001: United States” is available to view and download from the NCHS Website.