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Birthrate for American women rose in 2021

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-05-25 10:55

American women gave birth to more babies last year — the second year into the pandemic — than in 2020, but the number was still lower than in 2019, when the US birthrate dropped to the lowest level since 2014.

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 3,659,289 babies were born in 2021, an increase of 46,000, which is 1 percent more than in 2020.

CDC data also pointed to a slight increase in the fertility rate. The number of live births per 1,000 women between the ages 15 and 44 was 56.6, up from 56 in 2020. It’s the first increase since 2014, when the birthrate was in steady decline by a yearly rate of about 2 percent.

The researchers also took a look at the birthrate by race and found that rates for white and Hispanic women increased by about 2 percent, while Asian and black women had a decline of 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, in 2021 over 2020.

The analysis showed that 32.1 percent of babies were born via cesarean delivery in 2021, up from 31.8 percent in 2020. The highest rate of C-section was among black women, which increased from 36.3 percent to 36.8 percent.

In addition, the pre-term birthrate also rose by 4 percent in 2021, from 10.09 percent to 10.48 percent, the highest reported rate since 2007. That is likely a consequence of the pandemic.

A Lancet study from last fall showed that COVID-19 diagnosis in pregnancy was associated with a 40 percent increased risk of pre-term birth among racially and ethnically diverse populations.

The teenage birthrate continued to drop to about 14.4 births for every 1,000 females age 15 to 19 in 2021, a drop of 6 percent from 15.4 per 1,000 in 2020.

The preliminary data also show that more than half of births were by mothers who were 30 or older, up from 49 percent in 2020.

The age group that had the largest birthrate gain at 5 percent was women ages 35-39.

Brady Hamilton, a statistician who co-authored the births report, told The Wall Street Journal that was likely because those older women felt they didn't have the option of waiting as the pandemic dragged on.

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