The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

September 7, 2013

After years of decline, U.S. births leveling off?

ATLANTA — After falling four years in a row, U.S. births may finally be leveling off.

The number of babies born last year — a little shy of 4 million — is only a few hundred less than the number in 2011, according to a government report released Friday.

That suggests that lately, fewer couples may be scared away from having children because of the economy or other factors, some experts say. Among the signs of a possible turning point: The birth rate for women in their early 30s inched up for the first time since 2007.

“We may be on level course or potentially even see a rise” in birth trends in the near future, said Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some are a bit more pessimistic.

“The decline has slowed down, but it’s still a decline,” said Carol Hogue, an Emory University expert on birth trends.

Falling births is a relatively new phenomenon in this country. Births were on the rise since the late 1990s and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007. The drop that followed was widely attributed to the nation’s flagging economy. Experts believed that many women or couples who were out of work or had other money problems felt they couldn’t afford to start or add to their family.

The economy officially was in a recession from December 2007 until June 2009. But well into 2011, polls showed most Americans remained gloomy, citing anemic hiring, a depressed housing market and other factors.

The new CDC report is a first glimpse at 2012 birth certificate data from state health departments, but the numbers aren’t expected to change much.

Highlights of the report:

• The birth rate for all women of childbearing age — 63 births per 1,000 women — was essentially flat from the year before.

• Rates dropped for Hispanic women, 2 percent, and blacks, 1 percent, but less than the previous year. The rate continued to stay the same for whites, rose 4 percent for Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, and fell slightly for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

• Rates fell again for women in their early 20s, down 3 percent from 2011. That’s the lowest mark for women in that age group since 1940, when comprehensive national birth records were first compiled.

• For women in their late 20s, birth rates fell 1 percent. That age group accounts for more than a quarter of all of the nation’s births. The rate rose a slight 1 percent for women in their early 30s, who have nearly as many babies as women in their late 20s.

• Rates also rose 2 percent for moms ages 35 and older, and 1 percent for women in their early 40s. Rates in older moms have been rising slightly in recent years, despite the overall downward trend. Experts say that’s because older women generally have better jobs or financial security, and are more sensitive to the ticking away of their biological clocks.

• Birth rates for teen moms have been falling since 1991 and hit yet another historic low. The number of babies born to teens last year — about 305,000 — is less than half the peak of nearly 645,000 in 1970.

The teen birth rate has been cut in half since 1991, said Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, who called it a “stunning turnaround.”

Experts attribute that decline to a range of factors, including less sex and more use of contraception.

Another report highlight: About 33 percent of births last year were delivered through Cesarean section — a rate unchanged from the previous two years.

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Deep-sea octopus goes without food for 4.5 years while watching eggs

    Talk about extreme parenting: Scientists have found a deep-sea octopus mama that faithfully guards the same clutch of eggs for an incredible 4 1/2 years — a record.

    July 31, 2014

  • Study finds 35 percent in U.S. facing debt collectors

    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 30, 2014

  • U.S. blasts Israel for Kerry criticism

    The Obama administration pushed back strongly Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a “misinformation campaign” against the top American diplomat.

    July 29, 2014

  • Outlook on Medicare finances improves

    Medicare’s finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program’s giant hospital trust fund won’t be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year’s estimate.

    July 29, 2014

  • Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire

    If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don’t give much thought to each year’s renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hospital shooting suspect charged with murder

    A man accused of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist at a suburban Philadelphia hospital complex before the doctor returned fire has been charged with murder.

    July 28, 2014

  • Man seeks video of Oklahoma City bombing

    One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    July 28, 2014

  • Bill in Congress to help veterans with PTSD

    A group of lawmakers have joined together to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post Traumatic Brain Injury (PTBI) and other war injuries get speedy medical treatment — and avoid Veteran’s Administration bureaucracy and Department of Defense lack of accountability.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine

    Stepping up pressure on Moscow, the U.S. on Sunday released satellite images it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists also has crossed the border.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S. says Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.

    July 25, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video