U.S. birth rate hits lows for teens, rises among older women

NEW YORK Thu May 29, 2014 2:33pm EDT

Kelvin Villaroel holds up his son Isaac for a photo in front of a cherry tree in full blossom in Central Park in New York April 20, 2014.  REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Kelvin Villaroel holds up his son Isaac for a photo in front of a cherry tree in full blossom in Central Park in New York April 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The birth rate among U.S. teens and young women dropped to record lows last year, while the rate among older women hit highs not seen in a half century, according to government statistics released on Thursday.

The general fertility rate overall in the United States reached a record low of 62.9 births per 1,000 women, said the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Overall, 3,957,577 babies were born last year in the United States, it said.

The birth rate for teens - ages 15 to 19 - dropped 10 percent to 26.6 births per 1,000, an historic low. The number of births to teens also hit a new low.

"Certainly the drop in the teen birth rate is pretty astounding," said Carl Haub, senior demographer with the Population Reference Bureau.

He said the drop was likely attributable to educational efforts to prevent teen pregnancy and that economic factors also affected the rate, which began to fall dramatically during the recession that began in 2007.

The report also showed that the birth rate and number of births among girls ages 10 to 14 hit historic lows.

The birth rate for women in their early 20s declined to a record low as well, it said.

Meanwhile, birth rates for women in their 30s and 40s rose. Among the 35-to-39 age group, the birth rate was the highest since 1963. Among women ages 40 to 44, the birth rate was the highest since 1966.

"We are going up the age ladder and have been for many, many years," said Haub, citing women opting to postpone childbirth to get higher education or establish themselves in their careers.

Statistics have been calculated and analyzed since 1940.

(Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (4)
nose2066 wrote:
The story says: “the drop [in teen age pregnancies] was likely attributable to educational efforts to prevent teen pregnancy…”

So just the really dumb teens are having babies???

May 29, 2014 10:28pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fwupow wrote:
All in all this is positive. Older women having babies is good, especially if there’s a father in the picture and the marriage is stable. Teen & early twenty-somethings haven’t figured out who they are yet and are more concerned about pursuing their own interests and pleasure. They don’t know much about parenting other than whatever pops into their head which generally involves conscious & subconscious memories of how their own parents raised them. The problem with that is that is that your parents may not have done that good of a job. Poverty and instability is a bad scene to birth a child into. That in itself can prevent a mother from being as good a mother as she wants to be.

May 29, 2014 12:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
timebandit wrote:
This is good news overall and speaks to the efficacy of early sex education, with available birth control – specifically for whites who make up the majority of the U.S. population and who’ve responsibly improved their chances in life.

Unfortunately, the teen birth rate remains high among black teens and is increasing among the segment of the U.S. population that is latino. Just as troubling is that the high school dropout rate is increasing among the segment of the U.S. population that is latino. This bakes in yet more millions that are outside the edges of the workforce and below the poverty line, with their offspring – if not another generation after that – adding to the current 48 million already having become a permanent layer of new poverty and welfare over the past 20 years. What the teen birth rate looks like among those two groups 15 years from now will provide a clearer picture of whether to break out the champagne toast.

May 30, 2014 6:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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