Birth StatisticsOverall, birth rates have been steadily declining in the US over the past two decades. Consider these statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- The year 1998 saw a slight increase in births in the US: 14.6 births per 1,000 total population.
- In 1998, 3,941,553 babies were born in the US.
- The peak age for women of childbearing years remains in their 20s.
- The birth rate for teenagers, ages 15 to 19 years, continues to decrease to 51.1 births per 1,000 population.
- There is a slow increase in births to mothers over age 30, especially in women over 40 years old.
- More pregnancies are resulting in multiple births. In fact, in 1998, twin births increased 6 percent to 110,670 and triplet births increased 13 percent to 7,625.
- More women than ever are receiving prenatal care in the US - about 82.8 percent.
- Fewer women are smoking during pregnancy - about 12.9 percent in 1998.
- Preterm birth rates (less than 37 weeks in the womb) continues to increase dramatically to 11.6 percent in 1998, and the number of low birthweight babies (less than 5.5 pounds) increased to 7.6 percent. The rise in both preterm births and low birthweight babies can be partly attributed to the rise in multiple births.
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