- Rosalind Bentley The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
For once, here’s a downward trend that’s heartening.
Last year the number of teen moms in the U.S. fell significantly in what’s being described by federal health officials as a “historic low.”
On the flip side, the number of women who waited until their late 30s or early 40s to have babies rose during the same time period, according to a report released today by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Researchers combed through the vital statistics for 3.9 million births to all women in the U.S. for 2015 and found that the birth rate for females between 15 and 19 years old had fallen 8 percent from 2014. That’s also a whopping 48 percent drop from 2007, when 444,899 teens became moms.
The biggest decline in births last year was among teenagers between 15 and 17 years old. But it appears that once women reach their 20s, they’re also delaying having a child. At least that was the case last year when the birth rate for women in their early 20s fell 4 percent from 2014, following a trend that the NCHS has seen since 2007.
Once they hit 25, however, and through the remainder of their 20s, American women’s birth rates rose, but only by 1 percent between 2014 and 2015.
The story for older moms was the opposite. The number of women last year who had babies in their late 30s on up through their mid-40s increased 4 percent for their respective age groups.
Where does Georgia stand in all of this? Well, pretty middle of the road. Of all the Southern states, only Georgia, Tennessee and Maryland had no change in their birth rates for last year, while the remaining states saw their birth rates decline anywhere from just under 10 percent to more than 20 percent.
But there was still cause for despair in the numbers. Among girls between ages 10 and 14, there were 2,503 births last year. At 0.2 percent per 1,000 females in that age group, it has fallen 86 percent from 1.4 percent in 1991. But it’s a birth rate that remains too high.