Teen Births Rose in 2006
Rate of Teenage Births Leaps 3%; Births to Single Moms Hit Historic Highs
April 7, 2008 -- The teen birth rate in the U.S. rose for the first time in
14 years in 2006, and the number of cesarean deliveries and births to unmarried
women hit all-time highs, according to the CDC's National Center for Health
Teen childbirths rose by 3% in 2006, to about 42 births for every 1,000
females between the ages of 15 and 19.
That was up from 40.5 births per 1,000 in 2005, but still well below the 62
births per 1,000 recorded in 1991, when teen birth rates began their
About 20,000 more births were recorded among teens in the U.S. in 2006 than the previous year, with
a 5% increase seen among African-American teens, a 3% increase among
non-Hispanic whites, and a 2% increase among Hispanics.
While it is too early to say if the rise represents the beginning of a
trend, Stephanie J. Ventura, who heads the NCHS reproductive statistics branch,
says it is cause for concern.
"This could continue or it could reverse, but it is not the direction we
want to see," she tells WebMD.
New Baby Boom?
Overall, the birth rate increased by 3% to 4.26 million between 2005 and
2006, the largest single-year increase since 1989 and the largest total number
of births since 1961, which was one of the last years of the baby boom.
Birth rates rose by 4% among women between the ages of 20 and 24, to 105
births per 1,000 and by 3% among those aged 40 to 44, to 9.4 births per
An increase in the total fertility rate, which represents an estimate of the
number of children a woman will have over her reproductive life, may be one
explanation for the increase in overall births, Ventura suggests.
She says the rise represents a reversal in a trend, as an increasing number
of families are made up of more than one or two children.
So when it comes to family planning, three may be the new two.
"I've heard people say that," she says. "All we can say is that
the fertility rate is higher than it has been."