The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics released its report on the provision birth data of 2016 and revealed that teenage births and births, in general, are at an all-time low in the United States.
The new report shows evidence that the trend of declining birth rates in the said country still continues and teenagers are taking more responsibility when it comes to their sexual reproductive health.
Declining Teen Birth Rates
According to the report [PDF], provisional teenage births rates went down from 22.3 for every 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2015 to 20.3 for every 1,000 in 2016. That is about a 9 percent decline for the age group, which is a record low in itself.
In actual figures, it's a big change from the 229,715 teen births in 2015 to the 209,480 teen births recorded in 2016. When compared to the previous reports, the numbers present a 53 percent decrease compared to the 2007 record which was at 444,899 teen births.
"Data [from previous years] really suggests it is access to contraceptives and use of contraceptives that has really led to these kinds of changes ... most teens are using some form of birth control," Dr. Elise Berlan from the Nationwide Children's Hospital commented.
Overall Birth Rate Decline
The downward trend is also reflected in overall birth rates in the United States, which went down by 1 percent from 3,978,497 births in 2015 to 3,941,109 births in 2016.
Since women are pushing back pregnancy at a much later age, it is not surprising that births from women in their 20s also dropped while those in their 30s rose.
The data shows that births from women in the early 20s (20 to 24 years old) experienced a 6 percent decline from 850,509 births in 2015 to 802,763 in 2016. Meanwhile, those in their mid- to late 20s (25 to 29 years old) experienced a 0.4 percent decline from 1,152,311 to 1,147,879.
Birth Rate Increase And Its Unintended Dangerous Effect
Birth rates increased as women's age went up but, as many should be aware of, complications like preterm births and low birthweight also rise for mother and child at this stage.
The data shows that births increased by 1 percent for women in their early 30s and 2 percent for those in their mid- to late 30s. Women in their early 40s follow the upward trend with a 1 percent increase while births from women aged 45 to 54 remained unchanged.
The downside is that later pregnancies led to a 2 percent rise in preterm births, which was the case in 9.82 percent of pregnancies recorded in 2016, as opposed to the 9.63 percent in 2015.
"For seven years, we had improvements in preterm births in this country, and now after years of improvement we are getting worsening conditions for moms and babies," lead researcher Brady Hamilton expressed.
The report also shows that 77.2 percent of pregnant women sought prenatal care during the first trimester of the pregnancy while 6.2 percent had late or no prenatal care. However, this is the first time prenatal care was included in the annual statistics so the researchers had no data from previous years for comparison.
The provisional data covers 99.96 percent of registered births in 2016, which were accessed on Feb. 16, 2017.