The American Academy of Pediatrics released its annual summary of vital statistics and a few of the numbers stand out. Namely, birth rates in the U.S. are dropping. In 2008, there were two percent fewer births than the previous year, which had set records for the number of babies born. In total, 4,251,095 babies were born in the U.S. that year.
That was also, notably, the year the housing market crashed and the country fell into a recession.
That said, the same year saw a four percent bump in the birth rate for women 40 years and older — the highest rate for this group since the late ’60s. The 20-39 age group fell one to three percent.
Women in the 35-39 age group had one percent fewer babies in 2008- the first decrease for this demographic in 30 years. Teen births were also down two percent.
Pre-term births also dropped slightly, reversing a trend of steady increases in the number of babies born before 37 weeks gestation, according to the AAP.
C-sections also ticked up two percent to 32.3 percent of all babies born that year. It’s a 50 percent increase in the C-section rate since 1996. But the report points out that it’s actually a slower increase than what had been the trend.
As we close out 2010, it’ll be interesting to see whether the birth rate continued to decrease for women not yet in their 40s, and also whether the older moms sustained their increasing birth rate.
With the surprising reversal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists regarding vaginal births after c-sections this year, it’ll be interesting to see whether that slowed increased in the number of surgical births maintained — or even dropped — in 2010.