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Cesarean sections in selected countries 2018

Among all countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Turkey, followed by Korea, had the highest rate of Caesarean section births (or C-sections) in 2018. At that time, the rate of C-sections in Turkey was 548.9 per 1,000 live births. Among global regions, Latin America and the Caribbean had the highest percentage of births that were delivered by C-section, while West and Central Africa had the lowest rates of Cesarean section births.

Cesarean section costs

Cesarean sections are a form of birth where the baby is taken out through a surgical incision in the abdomen rather than a natural vaginal birth. The cost of a Cesarean section delivery varies globally. The United States has some of the highest costs globally for Cesarean section deliveries, while South Africa has some of the lowest costs. In the United States, C-sections are significantly more expensive than a delivery by vaginal birth.

High C-sections rates in the U.S.

The U.S. has one of the highest C-section rates among OECD countries and very few of the hospitals are meeting national targets for the number of Cesarean sections performed. Over the past 20 years the C-section rate in the U.S. has gradually been increasing with more stable trends in the past few years. It has been reported that many of the C-sections performed in the U.S. are elective and not necessary. Often the risks of C-sections are greater than the benefits, when performed as an elective procedure.

Cesarean section rates in OECD countries in 2018

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Release date

January 2020



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

The figure for the United States was taken from the OECD's Health at a Glance 2019 report and can be found here on page 201.

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Statistics on "Cesarean sections"

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