Public Health

U.S. Fertility Rates Fall To All-Time Low

Fertility keeps falling in the U.S.

Notes

Fertility, as measured in births per thousand women per year, dropped again in 2011, continuing a trend that has been in effect in the U.S. for decades.

Here we go again.

The rate at which American women are having babies fell by 1 percent in 2011, continuing a decline that's been under way for years.

There were 63.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2011 (the lowest on record), compared with 64.1 in 2010 and 66.2 in 2009.

A deeper look at the numbers reveals some other noteworthy trends.

Births to teenagers hit another low — 31.3 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19, down from 34.2 in 2010.

Fertility rates rose a little for older women — climbing 1 percent to 10.3 births per 1,000 women aged 40 to 44 from 10.2 in 2010. The rate of births was unchanged for women aged 45 to 49.

The infant mortality rate was 6.05 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011, about the same as the rate of 6.15 in 2010. There has been some improvement in the U.S. The rate stood at 6.91 in 2000 and 9.22 in 1990.

But the U.S. could do a whole lot better. A table that's part of the analysis published in the latest issue of Pediatrics puts the U.S. just behind Hungary and Slovak Republic in a list of 30 nations ranked by infant mortality.

Top of the charts: Hong Kong, Japan and Finland.

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