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U.S. Teen Birth Rate Hit Record Low in 2009: CDC
Date:12/22/2010

obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "And the birth rate is also falling due to the economic downturn."

The report -- from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics -- is based on data from more than 99 percent of the birth records from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Hamilton said.

Its other highlights include:

  • The fertility rate dropped for the second straight year, falling from 68.6 births per 1,000 women in 2008 to 66.7 in 2009.
  • The proportion of births to unmarried mothers increased to 41 percent of all births from 40.6 percent in 2008, but the total number of births to unmarried women fell for the first time since 1997.
  • The birth rate for women in their early 20s fell 7 percent last year, the largest drop since 1973. A decline was also noted for women in their late 20s and 30s.
  • The birth rate increased for women in their early 40s.
  • Preterm births dropped for the third straight year to less than 12.2 percent.
  • Cesarean deliveries rose to a record high of 32.9 percent in 2009, up from 32.3 a year earlier.
  • Low birth weight deliveries remained almost the same at less than 8.2 percent in 2009, down slightly from the record high of 8.3 in 2006.

Joyce A. Martin, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Health Statistics and report co-author, said the drop in preterm births is encouraging.

"It's the third year in a row we have seen a decline, and it's fairly substantial," Martin said.

However, the increase in cesarean deliveries is "disappointing," she said, noting that the data doesn't distinguish between first-time cesarean deliveries and subsequent C-sections.

"There are so many women who have already had a cesarean, so once you have had a cesarean the chances are you will have another one," she said. "It's not clear from these data whether there has been a moderation or stabilization
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