March 18, 2009 / 7:16 PM / 11 years ago

Teen birth rate up for second year in a row in U.S.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The number of U.S. teenage girls who are having babies continues to increase, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The birth rate for U.S. teenagers rose about 1 percent in 2007. The rate in 2007 was 42.5 births per 1,000 teenagers aged 15 to 19 years, up from 41.9 births per 1,000 in 2006 and 40.5 per 1,000 in 2005.

This is therefore the second year in a row that teen births have increased, federal health officials warn. Teen birth rates rose 3 percent in 2006 following a 14-year decline.

Only in Hispanic teens was there evidence of a decline in the birth rate, which fell to 81.7 births per 1,000, or 2 percent less than in 2007.

Birth rates also increased for women in their 20s, 30s and early 40s, but held steady for younger teens and pre-teens aged 10 to 14 years old.

Unmarried childbearing increased to “historic levels” in 2007 for women aged 15 to 44, the CDC notes in a press statement. “An estimated 1.7 million babies were born to unmarried women in 2007, accounting for 39.7 percent of all births in the United States — an increase of 4 percent from 2006. Unmarried childbearing has increased 26 percent since 2002 when the recent steep increases began.”

The latest statistics are based on an analysis of nearly 99 percent of birth records reported by 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories as part of the National Vital Statistics System.

According to the report, the preliminary estimate of the total number of U.S. births in 2007 was 4,317,119 — which is 1 percent more than in 2006 (4,265,555) “and the highest number ever registered in the United States.”

The full report and a separate report with state births data are available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.

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