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U.S. Teen Birth Rate Drops
Date:4/6/2010

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In fact, the only age group where births rose was for women in their 40s. The rate jumped by 4 percent for women aged 40 to 44 and rose slightly among women aged 45 to 49. The birth rate for women aged 40 to 44 now stands at 9.9 births per 1,000 women, the highest level since 1967, the report found.

According to the CDC's Hamilton, this is a continuation of a trend that has been going on for several years, with many American women postponing childbirth as they juggle motherhood and careers.

Other key findings include:

  • The fertility rate in 2008 was 2,085.5 births per 1,000 women, 2 percent less than the 2007 rate.
  • The birth rate for unmarried women dropped almost 2 percent from 2007 to 2008. However, the total number of births to unmarried women continued to rise between 2007 and 2008.
  • The rate of cesarean delivery rose for the 12th straight year to 32.3 percent in 2008. The increases were seen for women of all ages and most race and ethnic groups.
  • The rate of low birth weight infants was unchanged between 2007 and 2008 at 8.2 percent.
  • There was a small drop in low birth weight among black infants (from 13.8 to 13.7 percent).

Dr. Lawrence Friedman, professor and director of the division of adolescent medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, noted that the birth rate among Hispanic teens had dropped significantly, as well. "That is perhaps a reflection of their mores that are [now] less controlled by family members and religion and perhaps more Americanized," he speculated.

In addition, overall there has been a reduction in sexual activities among teens, Friedman said, and the decrease in teen pregnancy "may also reflect increasing condom use."

Also, teens may be engaging in alternative sexual activities, Friedman suggested. "Maybe withholding the intercourse activities that cause pregnancy, while still engaging
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