Fertility Rates Drop to Lowest Level Measured in the U.S.

8/10/2016 9:45:00 AM

According to the CDC, the number of babies born per woman have decreased even more. Although this can result from various reasons, heree's what ABC'S Jennifer Chevinsky contributed:

Fertility rates in America –- the number of babies born per woman between ages of 15 and 44 -– are at the lowest levels ever recorded, according to researchers in a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The findings are based on population data from the CDC that is released every quarter and tracks birth and fertility statistics dating back to 1909. This does not indicate there are more infertile women; rather it means that fewer babies are being born to women of likely childbearing age in the U.S. Measuring the fertility rate is viewed as a more accurate data compared to overall birthrate which measures the rate of babies born compared to the total U.S. population.

Today the fertility rate has decreased from 60 births per thousand women in the first quarter of 2015 down to 59.8 per thousand in the first quarter of 2016. This means there are on average less than 6 babies born for every 100 women in this age group. In 2010 there were 6.4 births for every 100 women in the group. This follows a trend in recent years of declining birth rates in the U.S. with general fertility rates declining more than 10 percent since 2007.

The report is the first time the CDC is releasing the fertility rate data quarterly instead of annually in an effort to understand more trends from this data and provide better information to public health and other medical officials.

The "report is trying to give us a picture of what is happening to fertility among U.S. women by specific characteristics, in particular by age," Donna Strobino, a professor of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins University told ABC News.

The report also found a continued decline in birth rates for women between the ages of 15 and 29 and an overall drop in teen birth rates. The birth rate for those between 15 to 19 declined from 22.7 per births per thousand women to 20.8 births per thousand.

While teen pregnancy is decreasing, pregnancy rates among older women between the ages of 30 to 44 are increasing. Birth rates increased the most for women between the ages of 30 to 34 rising from 95.6 to 97.9 per thousand women, part of an ongoing trend.

Strobino pointed out that the findings reflect demographic changes in general.

"The good news is that infertility treatment has allowed women to extend the age of childbirthing, going along with a lot of trends we are seeing in increasing age of marriage, increasing education levels and increasing labor force participation," she said. "The bad news is the complications associated with aging that have to do with an increase in chronic diseases as women age, increase in pregnancy induced complications and increase in complications for the fetus and newborn."

Lauren Rossen, Senior Service Fellow at National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead statistician for this CDC report, said they hoped by releasing the information quarterly for a first time it will help surveillance.

“We have focused on indicators that are important for public health surveillance and to public health practitioners, public health researchers, and the broader community,” Rossen said.

 

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