National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

CDC reports drop in U.S. birth rate, significant decline among teenagers

The birth rate in the United States dropped 0.3 percent between 2014 and 2015, with record lows among U.S. teenagers, according to a CDC report released on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports (Adamy, Wall Street Journal, 6/2).

The report is a preliminary examination of birth certificate data (Beasley, Reuters, 6/2).

Report Findings

Overall, the preliminary data show that in 2015 there were 3.98 million births in the United States.

CDC found that the birth rate fell among white women, remained constant among black women and increased among Hispanic women. In addition, the data show the U.S. birth rate fell among women in their 20s, but rose among women in their 30s and women in their early 40s.

The biggest decline in birth rates was recorded among teenagers ages 15 to 19 (Wall Street Journal, 6/2). According to the report, the U.S. teenage birth rate dropped 8 percent from 2014 to 2015, with 22.3 births per 1,000 women -- the lowest recorded rate since CDC began tracking the data in 1940. In comparison, the rate was 24.2 per 1,000 teenagers in 2014. Overall, there were 229,888 teenage births last year, down from 249,078 in 2014, according to CDC.

CDC attributes the decline to an increase in teenagers' use of contraception as well as a drop in teenage sexual activity.

In other findings, CDC found that the rate of deliveries by cesarean section declined for the third year in a row, dropping from 32.2 percent in 2014 to 32 percent in 2015.

Comments

Citing the decline in the teenage birth rate, Brady Hamilton, one of the study's authors, said, "We're reaching record lows every year." He called the declines "absolutely astounding."

Bill Albert, a spokesperson for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, also praised the findings, saying, "This nation has made remarkable, off-the-chart success on a pressing social issue that many of us considered unsolvable." He noted that teenage pregnancy can interfere with women's education and increase the likelihood of poverty. According to Albert, only about 40 percent of women who give birth during high school graduate (Reuters, 6/2).