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Health & Pregnancy

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U.S. Teen Birth Rates Rising

CDC Reports First Rise in Teen Birth Rate Since 1991
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Dec. 5, 2007 -- The CDC today reported that last year, the U.S. teen birth rate rose for the first time since 1991 -- and that C-sections and births to unmarried women hit record highs in 2006.

Here's a quick look at the rise in teen birth rates:

  • 3% rise for teens ages 15-17 (22 births per 1,000 women)
  • 4% rise for teens ages 18-19 (73 births per 1,000 women)
  • No rise for girls ages 10-14

The rise in teen birth rates is "notable," but it's "way too early to know if this is the start of a new trend," Stephanie Ventura, head of the CDC's Reproductive Statistics Branch, says in a CDC news release.

A total of 4,265,996 babies were born in the U.S. in 2006.

That's a 3% increase from 2005 and the "largest single-year increase in the number of births since 1989 and the largest number of births since 1961," says the CDC.

Births to unmarried women reached a record high of more than 1.6 million babies, a jump of nearly 8% over 2005.

And almost a third of babies born in the U.S. last year -- 31.1% -- were delivered by cesarean section (C-section). That's a new record.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • U.S. birth rates rose for women in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s.
  • Rates of preterm births and low-birth-weight babies rose slightly from 2005 to 2006.

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