Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 2000. PF 1.5 Fertility Rates

01/01/2000

The fertility rate in the United States dropped dramatically between 1960 and 1980 from 118.0 to 68.4 live births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. The declines occurred in all age groups (see Figure PF 1.5) and among both whites and blacks (see Table PF 1.5). Fertility rates for Hispanics, Asians, and American Indians/Alaska Natives were not tabulated separately in 1960.

Since 1980, the birth rate has remained between 65 and 71 live births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. In 1999 the fertility rate was 65.8 live births per 1,000 women these ages.

During the 1960s, age-specific fertility rates – the number of births per thousand women in a given age group—were highest among women ages 20 to 24. This pattern began to change during the 1980s as more and more women delayed childbearing. Since 1983, women ages 25 to 29 have had the highest age-specific fertility rates, followed closely by women ages 20 to 24 (see Figure PF 1.5).

In recent years, Hispanic women have had a much higher fertility rate than women from the other race and ethnic groups. In 1999, Hispanic women had 101.8 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, while non-Hispanic, white, black, Asian, and American Indian women had between 57.9 and 70.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 (see Table PF 1.5). There is, however, wide disparity in fertility rates within the Hispanic population. In 1998, the fertility rate for Mexican-origin women was 112.1 compared to 75.5 for Puerto Ricanorigin and 50.1 for Cuban-origin women.2

There is widespread policy interest in teenage childbearing. Between 1960 and 1985, birth rates for teens ages 15 to 19 dropped from 89.1 to 51.0 per 1,000 teen women. This trend reversed between 1985 and 1991, and the teen birth rate increased to 62.1 per 1,000 teen women. Since 1991, the teen birth rate has again turned downward, declining to 49.6 per 1,000 teen girls by 1999. The birth rate for black teens has remained about twice that of white teens since 1960. In 1999, the birth rate for black teens ages 15 to 19 was 81.1 per 1,000 girls compared to 34 per 1,000 white teen girls. The highest teenage childbearing rates, however, are found among Hispanic teens. In 1999, the teen fertility rate among Hispanics was 93.1 for girls ages 15 to 19.

Figure PF 1.5. Birthrates by selected age of mother (per 1,000 women) in the United States: 1960-1997

Figure PF 1.5 Birthrates by selected age of mother (per 1,000 women) in the United States: 1960-1997

Source: Ventura, et al., 1999. Births, Tables 4 and 9.


Table PF 1.5. Birth rates in the United States by race and hispanic origin and age of mother for selected ages (births per 1,000 females in each age group): Selected years: 1960-1999

  1960 1970 1980a 1990 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999f
All races
  All agesb 118.0 87.9 68.4 70.9 65.6 65.3 65.0 65.6 65.8
  Ages 10-14 0.8 1.2 1.1 1.4 1.3 1.2 1.1 1.0 0.9
  Ages 15-19 89.1 68.3 53.0 59.9 56.8 54.4 52.3 51.1 49.6
  Ages 15-17 43.9 38.8 32.5 37.5 36.0 33.8 32.1 30.4 28.7
  Ages 18-19 166.7 114.7 82.1 88.6 89.1 86.0 83.6 82.0 80.2
White non-Hispanicc
  All agesb 113.2 84.1 65.6 62.8 57.6 57.3 57.0 57.7 57.9
  Ages 10-14 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3
  Ages 15-19 79.4 57.4 45.4 42.5 39.3 37.6 36.0 35.2 34.1
  Ages 15-17 35.5 29.2 25.5 23.2 22.0 20.6 19.4 18.4 17.1
  Ages 18-19 154.6 101.5 73.2 66.6 66.1 63.7 61.9 60.6 59.0
Black non-Hispanicc,f
All agesb 153.5 115.4 84.7 89.0 74.5 72.5 72.4 73.0 70.2
Ages 10-14 4.3 5.2 4.3 5.0 4.3 3.8 3.4 3.0 2.6
Ages 15-19 156.1 140.7 97.8 116.2 99.3 94.2 90.8 88.2 81.1
Ages 15-17 101.4 72.5 84.9 72.1 66.6 62.6 58.8 52.1
Ages 18-19 204.9 135.1 157.5 141.9 136.6 134.0 130.9 122.9
Hispanicd,e
All agesb 95.4 107.7 105.0 104.9 102.8 101.1 101.8
Ages 10-14 1.7 2.4 2.7 2.6 2.3 2.1 2.0
Ages 15-19 82.2 100.3 106.7 101.8 97.4 93.6 93.1
Ages 15-17 52.1 65.9 72.9 69.0 66.3 62.3 61.2
Ages 18-19 126.9 147.7 157.9 151.1 144.3 140.1 139.0
Asian/Pacific Islanderc
All agesb 73.2 69.6 66.4 65.9 66.3 64.0 65.7
Ages 10-14 0.3 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4
Ages 15-19 26.2 26.4 26.1 24.6 23.7 23.1 22.8
Ages 15-17 12.0 16.0 15.4 14.9 14.3 13.8 12.6
Ages 18-19 46.2 40.2 43.4 40.4 39.3 38.3 38.8
American Indianc
All agesb 82.7 76.2 69.1 68.7 69.1 70.7 69.4
Ages 10-14 1.9 1.6 1.8 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.7
Ages 15-19 82.2 81.1 78.0 73.9 71.8 72.1 67.7
Ages 15-17 51.5 48.5 47.8 46.4 45.3 44.4 41.3
Ages 18-19 129.5 129.3 130.7 122.3 117.6 118.4 110.4

a Births from 1980 onward are by race of mother. Tabulations prior to 1980 are by race of child, which assigns the child to the race of the nonwhite parent, if any, or to the race of the father, if both are nonwhite.

b Fertility rates were computed by relating total births, regardless of age of mother, to women ages 15 to 44.

c Includes persons of Hispanic origin until 1990. After 1990, persons of Hispanic origin are not included.

d Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.

e White and black non-Hispanic excludes data for New Hampshire and Oklahoma, which did not report Hispanic origin.

f Data for 1999 are not available for black non-Hispanic women; data shown for 1999 are for all black women.

Sources: Ventura, et al., 1999. Births, Tables 1, 4, and 9; Ventura, 1983. Births, Table 5; also unpublished data, National Center for Health Statistics; Curtin, & Martin, 2000. Births: Preliminary Data for 1999.


2 Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Curtin, S.C., & Park, M.M. 2000. Births: Final Data for 1998. National Vital Statistics Reports 48, (3.) Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.

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