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Infertility & Reproduction Health Center

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Birth Rates Rise for Women Aged 30-44

More Older and Unmarried Moms in 2003, Says CDC
WebMD Health News

Nov. 23, 2004 -- More older and unmarried women became moms in 2003, according to the latest U.S. birth rate statistics.

The numbers come from the CDC's new report, "Births: Preliminary Data for 2003," and include virtually all of last year's U.S. births, which were recorded by state vital statistics offices.

Birth Rate Age Trends

Women aged 35-39 had a birth rate increase of 6%, reaching 43.8 births per 1,000 women. There was also a 5% birth rate increase for women aged 40-44, with 8.7 births per 1,000 women.

"The rates for women aged 35-39 years and 40-44 years have been increasing continuously since 1978 and 1985, respectively," says the CDC.

In addition, the birth rate for women aged 30-34 years rose 4%, reaching 95.2 births per 1,000 women.

The older-mom trend stopped at age 44. The birth rate held steady for women aged 45-49 at 0.5 births per 1,000 women.

Although women in their 30s and early 40s had the greatest percentage increases in birth rates, the highest birth rate occurred among women in their late 20s.

Women aged 25-29 had a birth rate of almost 116 births per 1,000 women, a 2% rise since 2002.

Fewer Younger Moms

In contrast, birth rates dropped for women in their teens and early 20s.

Women aged 20-24 had a 1% drop in their birth rate between 2002 and 2003, falling to about 103 births per 1,000 women.

The teen birth rate (aged 15-19) fell 3% since 2002, with about 42 births per 1,000 women.

"Rates fell for teenagers in all race and Hispanic origin groups, in many cases marking new record lows for the nation," says the report.

More Unmarried Mothers

Besides being older, more moms in 2003 were unmarried. The birth rate for unmarried women rose 3% in 2003 to almost 45 births per 1,000 women, according to the CDC. That rate includes all unmarried women aged 15-44.

"The proportion of births to unmarried women also increased in 2003 to 34.6%, compared with 34% in 2002," says the CDC.

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