U.S. Cesarean Rate Drops for First Time in More Than a Decade
• The birth rate for teenagers has declined for the last three years and 17 out of the past 19 years, falling to 34.3 births per 1,000 teenagers ages 15-19 in 2010. This is a 9 percent decline from 2009 and the lowest rate ever recorded in nearly seven decades of collecting data. Birth rates for younger and older teenagers and for all race/ethnic groups reached historic lows in 2010.
• The cesarean delivery rate dropped for the first time in over a decade. In 2010, the cesarean rate was 32.8, down slightly from 32.9 in 2009.
• The overall fertility rate as well as the total number of births in the U.S. declined for the third straight year in 2010. The general fertility rate fell 3 percent from 66.2 births per 1,000 females aged 15-44 in 2009 to 64.1 in 2010. The total number of births also declined 3 percent, from 4,130,665 in 2009 to 4,000,279 in 2010.
• The total number of births to unmarried mothers declined for the second year in a row in 2010 (1,633,785, down from 1,693,658 in 2009), as did the rate of births per 1,000 unmarried mothers (47.7, down from 49.9 in 2009). Also, the percentage of all births to unmarried mothers declined slightly in 2010 (40.8 percent, down from 41 percent in 2009.
• The birth rate for women in their early twenties fell 6 percent in 2010, and the rates also fell for women in their late twenties and thirties. However, the birth rate for women in their early forties increased in 2010 by 2 percent to the highest rate since 1967.
• The preterm birth rate declined for the fourth straight year in 2010, to just under 12 percent of all births (11.99) – a 6 percent drop from 2009.
• The low birthweight rate was essentially unchanged between 2009 and 2010 at less than 8.2 percent in 2010, but is down slightly from the record high of 8.3 in 2006.