26 June 2003
Birth Rate Falls to Record Low
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
(AP) -- America's birth rate fell to a record low last year as both
teenagers and women in their prime childbearing years had fewer
babies, the government said Wednesday.
the percentages of premature and low birth weight babies climbed,
continuing the rise of recent years.
note: coincidentally, research using blood samples stored since
the 1950s/60s, analyzed using modern quantitative chemistry and
correlated with birth and health records has revealed strong associations
between DDT levels in mothers' serum and (1) preterm
birth and (2) greater difficulty for the daughter exposed in
the womb at becoming
pregnant 3 decades later.]
birth rate was 13.9 per 1,000 persons in 2002, the Health and Human
Services Department announced. That compares with 14.1 a year ago.
The most recent high was 16.7 in 1990.
latest figure is the lowest in government records that go back to
the turn of the 20th century, according to Brady Hamilton, a demographer
at the National Center for Health Statistics.
major factor in the decline has been the reduction in births to
teenagers in recent years, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy
Thompson said. He called that ``a significant accomplishment.''
factors also play a part, including the aging of the population,
noted that women in their prime childbearing years have been choosing
to have fewer children and, as the population ages, there are fewer
women in their 20s and 30s.
there were 4,019,280 births in the United States in 2002, down from
4,025,933 the year before.
12 percent of last year's births were premature, compared with 11.9
percent in 2001. In addition, 7.8 percent were listed as low birth
weight, which the center said was at the highest level in more than
30 years. Last year's rate was 7.7 percent.
increases came despite greater access to prenatal care. The center
said 83.8 percent of women began receiving care in the first trimester
of pregnancy last year, compared with 83.4 percent in 2001 and 75.8
percent in 1990.
birth rate for unmarried women declined last year to 43.6 per 1,000
unmarried women, but this group still accounted for more than one-third
of all births.
findings in the study of births in 2002 included:
15 to 19 had a birth rate of 42.9 per 1,000, down from 45.3 in 2001
and 47.7 in 2000. The rate for girls 10 to 14 was 0.7 per 1,000,
down from 0.8 in 2001.
women 20 to 24, the rate was 103.5 per 1,000, down from 106.2 in
2001. For women 25 to 29, the rate was unchanged at 113.6.
birth rate dropped between 2001 and 2002 from 91.9 to 91.6 per 1,000
for women 30 to 34.
women 35 to 39 and 40 to 44 the birth rates edged up. It went from
40.6 to 41.4 for the former, and 8.1 to 8.3 for the later. The rate
for women aged 45 to 54 was unchanged at 0.5.
year, more than one-fourth of births, 26.1 percent, were by Caesarean
section, compared with 24.4 percent in 2001.
Center for Health Statistics: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs