U.S. birthrates down for fourth year in a row


And women are having children later in life.

Americans are having fewer babies, and those who are having them generally are giving birth later in life.

The general fertility rate in the United States is down for the fourth year in a row, following an increase in 2014. Before that year, the number of births declined steadily from 2007 through 2013, according to a report by National Center for Health Statistics issued Wednesday. The center reported that there were 3,791,712 births registered in the United States in 2018. That’s down 2% from 2017.

“Compared with rates in 2017, the general fertility rate declined to 59.1 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44,” the center said.

This is the fourth year that the number of births has declined

The birth rate for females aged 15–19 fell 7% in 2018. Birth rates declined for women aged 20–34 and increased for women aged 35–44.

The total fertility rate declined to 1,729.5 births per 1,000 women in 2018.

The center also reported some good news about baby-making in America: the percentage of women who began prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy rose to 77.5% in 2018; the percentage of all women who smoked during pregnancy declined to 6.5%. The cesarean delivery rate decreased to 31.9% in 2018 following an increase in 2017.

However, the preterm birth rate rose for the fourth straight year to 10.02% in 2018; the rate of low birthweight was unchanged at 8.28%.