Public Health Resources


Date of this Version



Published in National Vital Statistics Reports Volume 57, Number 7, January 7, 2009.


Objectives—This report presents 2006 data on U.S. births according to a wide variety of characteristics. Data are presented for maternal demographic characteristics including age, live-birth order, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, and educational attainment; maternal lifestyle and health characteristics (medical risk factors, weight gain, and tobacco use); medical care utilization by pregnant women (prenatal care, obstetric procedures, characteristics of labor and/or delivery, attendant at birth, and method of delivery); and infant characteristics (period of gestation, birthweight, Apgar score, congenital anomalies, and multiple births). Also presented are birth and fertility rates by age, live-birth order, race, Hispanic origin, and marital status. Selected data by mother’s state of residence are shown, as well as data on month and day of birth, sex ratio, and age of father. Trends in fertility patterns and maternal and infant characteristics are described and interpreted.
Methods—Descriptive tabulations of data reported on the birth certificates of the 4.3 million births that occurred in 2006 are presented. Denominators for population-based rates are postcensal estimates derived from the U.S. 2000 census.
Results—In 2006, births and fertility rates increased for most states, age groups, and race and Hispanic origin groups. A total of 4,265,555 births were registered in the United States in 2006, 3 percent more than in 2005, and the largest number of births in more than four decades. The crude birth rate was 14.2, up slightly from the previous year; the general fertility rate was 68.5, up 3 percent. Birth rates increased for women in nearly all age groups, with the largest increases for teenagers and for women aged 20–24 and 40–44 years. Teenage childbearing increased, interrupting the 14-year decline from 1991– 2005. The mean age at first birth for U.S. women was down in 2006, to 25.0 years. The total fertility rate increased to 2,100.5 births per 1,000 women. All measures of unmarried childbearing reached record levels in 2006. Women were less likely to receive timely prenatal care in 2006. The cesarean delivery rate climbed to 31.1 percent, another all-time high. Preterm and low birth weight rates continued to rise; the twin birth rate was unchanged for the second consecutive year; the rate of triplet and higher order multiple births declined 5 percent.

Included in

Public Health Commons