First Increase in U.S. Fertility Rate Since 2007; Teen Birth Rate Hits New All-Time Low

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2015

Contact: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Communication (301) 458-4800

Births: Preliminary Data for 2014. National Vital Statistics Report 64 No. 6

The general fertility rate in the United States increased for the first time in seven years in 2014, and birth rates among teenagers 15-19 years of age fell to their lowest level ever, according to annual birth data to be released by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) on Wednesday.

The data, featured in a new report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2014,” are based on 100 percent of birth certificates recorded in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories as part of the National Vital Statistics System.

The report shows the general fertility rate in the U.S. was 62.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in 2014, up 1% from 2013, and the first increase in the fertility rate since 2007.

Birth rates for teens aged 15-19 decreased 9% in 2014 to 24.2 births per 1,000 women, another historic low for the nation, according to the authors, Brady Hamilton, Joyce Martin, Michelle Osterman, and Sally Curtin of NCHS. The authors write: “Since the most recent peak in 1991 (61.8), the rate has declined a total of 61%.”

More highlights from the report:

  • The 2014 preliminary number of U.S. births was 3,985,924, an increase of 1% from 2013. The number of births increased for women in all race and Hispanic origin groups in 2014, except for American Indian or Alaska Native women for whom births decreased.
  • The birth rate for women in their early twenties declined to 79.0 births per 1,000 women, a 2% drop from 2013 (80.7) and another record low. The rate for women in this age group has declined steadily since 2007 at more than 4% a year.
  • Birth rates for women in their thirties increased 3% and rates for women in their early forties increased 2% from 2013 to 2014.
  • The nonmarital birth rate declined 1% in 2014, to 44.0 births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44, the sixth consecutive year of decline. The percent of all births to unmarried women declined to 40.3 in 2014, from 40.6 in 2013. The authors write: “This overall decline was primarily the result of a compositional shift (that is, more births to older women who have proportionally fewer nonmarital births than their younger counterparts).”
  • The percent of nonmarital births declined between 2013 and 2014 for all race and Hispanic origin groups. The percent of births to unmarried mothers in 2014 ranged from 16.4 for Asian or Pacific Islander women to 70.9 for non-Hispanic black women.
  • The cesarean delivery rate declined for the second straight year to 32.2 percent of all births, a 2% decline from 2013 (32.7) and the lowest rate since 2007. Low-risk cesarean delivery rates were down 3% in 2014. Low-risk cesarean deliveries are defined as deliveries that are first births at term (37 weeks of completed gestation) and are singleton births and “vertex” positioned (head-first).
  • The preterm birth rate (based on a change in measure called the Obstetric Estimate of Gestation at Delivery) was down in 2014 to 9.57% and has declined 8% since 2007.
  • The low birthweight rate was essentially unchanged in 2014 at 8.00%. The LBW rate (the percentage of infants born at less than 2,500 grams or 5lb, 8 oz.) rose to 8.26% in 2006, but has trended slowly downward during 2007-2014.