Friday, December 05, 2014

Birth rates down in 49 states; many largely rural states have declined 10% or more since 2006

The number of women giving birth in the U.S. dropped last year for the sixth consecutive year, and many states with large rural populations have seen significant declines in birth rates since 2006, says a report by the National Center for Health Statistics released on Thursday.

Last year there were 3.93 million births in the U.S., down from 3.95 million in 2012 and down 9 percent from the high in 2007, Tamar Lewin reports for The New York Times. The number of women 15 to 44 who had babies in 2013 dropped to a record low of 1.86 million babies, "well below the 2.1 needed for a stable population. For every 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, there were 62.5 births in 2013, compared with 63 the previous year."

"The decline is especially notable because the number of women in their prime childbearing years, 20 to 39, has been growing since 2007," Lewin writes. Strangely, there was a 14 percent increase in the number of babies by women 45-49 years old.

Many of the 12 states that had birth declines of 15 percent or more from 2006-2013 are largely rural, says the report. Those 12 states are: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island. Another 23 states had declines 10-14 percent, and overall rates declined in 49 states and Washington, D.C. Hawaii was the only state where the rate didn't change. (Read more) (NCHS map)

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