(HealthDay News) – In 2012, the U.S. birth rate was essentially unchanged, but decreases were noted in the rates for teenagers and women in their early 20s, according to a report published Sept. 6 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Brady E. Hamilton, PhD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from 99.96% of 2012 births in the United States to report trends on births and birth rates.

According to the report, the birth rate was essentially unchanged from 2011, and was 3,952,937 in 2012. For women aged 15–44 years, the general fertility rate was 63 births per 1,000 women, down slightly from 2011, after a 3% annual decrease from 2007–2010. In 2012, the birth rate for teenagers decreased 6% to a historic low of 29.4 per 1,000 teenagers, with rates declining for nearly all race and Hispanic origin groups. Birth rates also decreased for women in their early 20s, but increased for women in their 30s and early 40s. The non-marital birth rate decreased to 45.3 per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15–44, while the number of births to unmarried women increased 1% and the percentage of births to unmarried women was stable. The preterm birth rate and low birth weight rate both deceased in 2012, and the cesarean delivery rate was unchanged at 32.8%.

“The number of births to teenagers 15–19 dropped 7% during 2011–2012, to 305,420, the fewest since the end of World War II,” the authors write.

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