“Births: Preliminary Data for 2008,” based on an analysis of 99.9 percent of birth records for 2008, found there were 41.5 births per 1,000 teenagers aged 15-19 years, down from 42.5 in 2007 and 41.9 in 2006.
There was also a significant decline in the percentage of babies born preterm in 2008 (prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy). The preterm birth rate declined from 12.7 in 2007 to 12.3 in 2008. This marks the second straight year of decline in the preterm birth rate following a 20 percent increase between 1990 and 2006.
Other findings include:
- The preliminary number of U.S. births in 2008 was 4,251,095, down nearly 2 percent from the preliminary number in 2007, which was an all-time high of 4,317,119.
- The birth rate for older teenagers aged 18 and 19 declined by 4 percent to 70.7 births per 1,000. Only the youngest teenagers aged 10 to 14 saw no change in the 2008 preliminary birth rate compared to previous years (0.6 births per 1,000).
- The birth rate for Hispanic teenagers fell to 77.4 births per 1,000, the lowest rate ever reported for this group in the two decades for which rates are available.
- Birth rates fell by 3 percent among women aged 20-24 and by 2 percent for women aged 25-29. Rates for women in their thirties declined about 1 percent.
- The preliminary birth rate for women aged 40-44 in 2008 increased 4 percent, to 9.9 births per 1,000 women, the highest rate since 1967. The rates for women aged 45-49 years also increased in 2008 from 0.6 births per 1,000 in 2007 to 0.7.
- The preliminary birth rate for unmarried women aged 15 to 44 declined almost 2 percent from 2007 to 2008, to 52 per 1,000 in 2008 compared with 52.9 in 2007. The decline in the birth rate among unmarried women was the first reported since a slight decline during 2001-2002.
- The other key measures of childbearing by unmarried women – total number of births and percentage of births to unmarried women – both increased to historic levels in 2008.
- The cesarean delivery rate rose for the 12th straight year to 32.3 percent in 2008. Increases were seen among women of all age groups, and most race and ethnic groups.
- The low birthweight rate remained unchanged between 2007 and 2008 at 8.2 percent; a small decline in low birthweight was reported for non-Hispanic black infants (from 13.8 to 13.7 percent).
The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.
Contact: Division of News and Electronic Media