January 9, 2009

Highest U.S. birth rate in four decades

There were 4,265,555 U.S. births in 2006 -- an increase of 3 percent over 2005 and highest in more than four decades, federal health officials said.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found in that 2006 births and fertility rates increased for most states, age groups and race and Hispanic origin groups.

Birth rates increased for women in nearly all age groups, with the largest increases for teenagers and for women ages 20"“24 and 40"“44.

Teenage childbearing increased, interrupting the 14-year decline from 1991"“2005. The mean age at first birth for U.S. women was down in 2006, to age 25, the report said.

The total fertility rate increased to 2,100.5 births per 1,000 women.

All measures of unmarried childbearing reached record levels in 2006 and women were less likely to receive timely prenatal care in 2006 compared to previous years, the report said.

The Cesarean delivery rate climbed to 31.1 percent, another all-time high.