Births in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

In 2016, there were around 3.95 million live births in the United States. Like many other developed countries, the birth rate in the U.S. has decreased over recent decades, in part due to young adults postponing having children and the use of contraception. However, in the period 2013-2015, around 50 percent of woman aged 15 to 44 years stated they expected to have a child in the future.

Birth rates differ depending on various factors, including a woman’s age, ethnicity, income, and education. Unsurprisingly, birth rates are by far highest among women aged 20 to 34 years, with 89 births per 1,000 women in this age group in 2016. In terms of ethnicity, white and Asian women have the lowest birth rates, while the highest rates are found among native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders and American Indians and Alaska Natives. Following the general decreasing trend in birth rates, teen birth rates have dropped significantly in recent decades. In 2016, there were around 20 teen births per 1,000 women, with the highest rates found among American Indians and Alaska Natives and Hispanics. The states with the highest teen birth rates include Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Texas.

If a birth could possibly put the health of the mother or child at risk, it may be necessary to have a Cesarean delivery. Around 32 percent of all live births in the United States are delivered by Cesarean section, while a further .5 percent are delivered by forceps, and 2.6 percent by vacuum extraction. Most births in the U.S. occur in hospitals where such procedures are commonplace, but expensive; however, 2.5 percent of all live births in Vermont and Wyoming in 2016 were home births.

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