CDC: U.S. Birth Rate Hits All-Time Low; 40.7% of Babies Born to Unmarried Women

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 31, 2012 | 5:16pm EDT

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The birth rate in the United States hit an all-time low in 2011, according to a report released this month by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The 2011 preliminary number of U.S. births was 3,953,593, 1 percent less (or 45,793 fewer) births than in 2010; the general fertility rate (63.3 per 1,000 women age 15-44 years) declined to the lowest rate ever reported for the United States,” said the report.

More than 40 percent of all babies born in the country last year, the report said, were born to unmarried women.

While the overall birth rate declined to a record low, the birth rates for women in the 35-39 and 40-44 age groups actually increased from 2010 to 2011.

Among all women in the United States (including those as young as 10 and as old as 54), the birth rate declined from 64.1 per 100,000 in 2010 to 63.2 per 100,000 in 2011. Among women 10 to 14 years old, it held steady at 0.4 per 100,000. Among women 15-19 years old, it declined from 34.2 to 31.3. Among women 20-24 years old, it declined from 90.0 to 85.3. Among women 25-29, it declined from 108.3 to 107.2. And among women 30-34 years old, it held steady at 96.5.

However, among women 35-39 years old, it increased from 45.9 per 100,000 to 47.2. Among women 40-44, it increased from 10.2 to 10.3. And among women from 45-54, it held steady at 0.7 per 100,000.

The percentage of American-born babies who were delivered by unmarried women actually declined slightly from 40.8 percent in 2010 to 40.7 percent in 2011.

In 2011, 1,606,087 babies were born to unmarried women and 2,347,506 were born to married women.

Although the percentage of babies born to unmarried women was highest among teens, the percentage of babies delivered by unmarried women of older ages increased from 2010 to 2011.

In 2010, 33.9 percent of the babies delivered by women 25-29 were delivered by unmarried women, and in 2011 that increased to 34.4 percent. In 2010, 21.1 percent of babies delivered by women 30-34 were delivered by unmarried women, and in 2011 that increased to 21.6 percent. In 2010, 19.6 percent of babies delivered by women 35-39 were delivered by unmarried mothers and in 2011 that increased to 21.1 percent. In 2010, 21.7 percent of babies delivered by women 40 and over were delivered by unmarried mothers and in 2011 that increased to 22.4 percent.

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