The teen birth rate in the United States fell to its lowest level ever in 2005, according to the latest birth statistics for the nation, released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report, “Births: Preliminary Data for 2005,” includes figures from over 99 percent of birth certificates filed in the U.S. and reveals that between 2004 and 2005, the birth rate for teenagers aged 15-19 fell 2 percent, to 40.4 births per 1,000 – a 35 percent decrease from the peak of 61.8 births per 1,000 in 1991.
The decline in teen childbearing was especially pronounced for non-Hispanic black teens ages 15-17 – the birth rate for this group fell 6 percent in 2005 compared to 2004 and 59 percent since 1991. In total, there were 421,123 births to females under age 20 in 2005.
“The decline in teenage childbearing has been documented across all race and ethnic populations, but most impressive has been the decline in these rates for non-Hispanic black teenagers,” said Brady Hamilton, a researcher at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the report.
Among other key findings:
* There was another increase in unmarried childbearing in 2005. The number of births to unmarried mothers of all ages rose 4 percent from 1.47 million in 2004 to 1.52 million in 2005; while the rate increased to 47.6 births per 1,000 unmarried females aged 15-44 in 2005, up from 46.1 in 2004. The percentage of births to unmarried mothers also increased in 2005, from 35.8 to 36.8 percent.
* The total number of U.S. births increased by 1 percent in 2005 to 4,140,419. The general fertility rate (number of births per 1,000 women ages 15-44) also increased slightly to 66.7 from 66.3 in 2004.
* Childbearing by women in their early 20s increased slightly in 2005, and also continued to increase among women in their 30s and 40s. Birth rates for women aged 20-24 and 30-34 rose less than 1 percent between 2004 and 2005, while rates for women aged 35-44 years rose by 2 percent.
* The Caesarean delivery rate rose 4 percent in 2005 to 30.2 percent of all births, a record high. The C-section rate has risen 46 percent since 1996.
* The preterm birth rate (percentage of infants delivered at less than 37 completed weeks of gestation) rose from 12.5 in 2004 to 12.7 in 2005. This rate has increased 20 percent since 1990.
* The percentage of babies born at low birth weight also increased in 2005, to 8.2 percent of all births (up from 8.1 in 2004). The percentage of low birth weight babies has increased more than 20 percent since the mid 1980’s.