The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has recently released information on the rate of pregnancy for women in the United States. The data indicates a drop in pregnancy rates that was lower only once in the past 30 years, in 1997. Even with a steady decline, the US birth rate is higher than birth rates in most of the world’s industrialized nations.
The currently released NCHS data reflects the birth rate of 2009, which indicates there were 102 pregnancies for every 1,000 women of childbearing age (ages 15 to 44) that year. The report includes statistics on abortion, which are also in decline following a peak in 1990. The most recent data available for review on abortion rates is for the year 2009.
Some findings include:
- 1990 peak birth rate was 116 pregnancies per 1,000 women of childbearing age.
- 2009 pregnancy rates for women in their 20s was highest across all ethnicities and races.
- The most pregnancies occurred in women aged 25 to 29 in 2009.
- The most pregnancies occurred in women aged 20 to 24 in in 1990 and 2000.
- Women 30 years and older are the only group experiencing an increase in the rate of pregnancy in 2009.
The economic recession is one factor that may have attributed to the record low number of pregnancies in 2009. While this latest report stops at 2009 to include the abortion rate, preliminary studies of pregnancies alone suggest the pregnancy rate since 2009 is continuing to decline although not as sharply as it did in 2009.
It’s also evident that women today are having fewer children than their mothers and grandmothers did. Some women may be delaying the start of a family until the economy stabilizes but others choose to delay motherhood to complete their educations, more firmly establish careers, and accomplish other personal goals.
- Teen pregnancies have declined sharply since peaking in 2009
- In 2009, there were 38 pregnancies per 1,000 girls
- In 2012, teen pregnancies were at an all-time low of 29 per 1,000 girls
Teen pregnancies have been on a long, downward trend, according to Sally Curtin, an author of the report. Curtin attributes the continuing decline to fewer teens having sex and more of them using contraceptives.
The AIDS epidemic may be a decisive factor in the drop in teen pregnancy rates for two reasons:
- More boys willing to use condoms.
- Schools may feel more compelled to discuss the AIDS epidemic with their student body even when sex education is limited or omitted.
Source: Curtin, Sally C, MA, et al. “NCHS Data Brief: Pregnancy Rates for US Women Continue to Drop.” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dec 5, 2013. Web. Dec 11, 2013.