April 6, 2010 -- After two years of consecutive increases, the teen birth rate in the U.S. dropped by 2% in 2008, signaling what researchers hope is a return to a downward trend.
According to the CDC report, the teen birth rate declined from 42.5 births per 1,000 teenagers in 2007 to 41.5 births per 1,000 teenagers in 2008. Between 1991 and 2005, teen births declined by 34% before they rose by 5% between 2005-2007.
The report on births in 2008 also shows that cesarean delivery rates rose for the 12th straight year to nearly a third of all births (32.3%). Increases of 1%-3% in the number of cesarean deliveries were seen among women of all ages and most racial and ethnic groups.
Researchers say the percentage of births delivered by C-section has risen by more than 50% since 1996, but the pace of increase has slowed somewhat in recent years.
The report, which is based on data collected from 99.9% of registered vital records in 2008, also shows more women are giving birth after age 40.
The birth rate among women aged 40-44 increased by 4% to 9.9 births per 1,000 women, the highest rate since 1967. The number of births among women aged 45-54 also increased by 4% in 2008.
The birth rate for women aged 35-39 dropped by 1% in 2008, the first decline in this age group since 1978.
Other findings of the report include:
- Teen birth rates declined for all age groups under 20 except for the youngest age group, 10-14, which was unchanged at 0.6 births per 1,000.
- Preterm or premature births declined by 3% to 12.3% of all births in 2008.
- The rate of low birth-weight babies remained unchanged in 2008 at 8.2% of all births, although a small decline in low birth-weight babies was seen among African-American infants (from 13.8% to 13.7%).
- Birth rates to unmarried women declined by 2% in 2008, the first such decline since 2001.