U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Maternal Age

According to preliminary data, the general fertility rate rose to 69.5 live births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years in 2007. The birth rate among teenagers aged 15-19 years rose for the second year in a row, to 42.5 births per 1,000 females in this age group. This rate is still 31 percent lower than the most recent peak, reported in 1991 (61.8 births per 1,000). In 2007, the highest birth rate was among women aged 25-29 years (117.5 births per 1,000), followed by women aged 20-24 years (106.4 births per 1,000). Birth rates for women aged 30-34 years (99.9 births per 1,000) and 35-39 years (47.5 per 1,000) were the highest reported in over four decades. The birth rate for women aged 40-44 years was 9.5 births per 1,000, an increase of more than 70 percent since 1990 (data not shown).

In 2007, 3.4 percent of births were to minors under 18 years of age, and another 7.1 percent were to teenagers aged 18-19 years. Just over one-quarter of births occurred among young adults aged 20-24 years, and exactly one-half were to women aged 25-34 years. Another 11.6 percent of births were to women aged 35-39 years, and 2.6 percent of births were to women aged 40-54 years. Average age at first birth fell to 25.0 years in 2006 (the latest year for which data are available), the first such decline since the measure became available in 1968 (data not shown).

Age distribution of births varies by race/ethnicity. Among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women, 17.4 percent and 14.2 percent of births, respectively, were to teenagers, compared to 7.5 percent among non-Hispanic Whites. The percentage of births to young adults aged 20-24 years was also higher among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women (31.9 percent and 28.7 percent, respectively) than among non-Hispanic White women (22.8 percent). However, non-Hispanic White women had higher birth rates than non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women in each of the older age categories.

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