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The crude birth rate in 2011 was "the lowest rate ever reported for the United States," according to the authors of the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics, published online February 11 inPediatrics.
Expressed as live births per 1000 women, the 2011 crude birth rate was 12.7, down from 13.0 in 2010, 14.4 in 2000, and 24.1 in 1950. Overall, there were 1% fewer children born in the United States in 2011 than in 2010, and 4% fewer than in 2009, lead author Brady E. Hamilton, PhD, from the Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues report. The data come from birth and death certificates for residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The decline in birth rate among mothers aged between 15 and 19 years was especially dramatic, with an 8% relative decrease between 2010 and 2011 to reach a historic low of 31.3 births per 1000 women in 2011. This represents a 25% relative decrease in birth rate since 2007 and a 49% relative decrease since 1991, the authors say. "If the 1991 rates had continued to prevail from 1992 through 2011, an estimated 3.6 million additional births to women aged 15 to 19 years would have occurred in the United States (with >1 million of those additional births occurring between 2008 and 2011)."
Birth rates among women in the 20- to 24-year age category also decreased, from 90.0 per 1000 women in 2010 to 85.3 per 1000 in 2011, another record low in the United States. In contrast, women aged 40 to 44 years saw a 1% increase in birth rates, going from 10.2 per 1000 in 2010 to 10.3 per 1000 in 2011. There was no change in rate among women aged 45 to 49 years during that period.
The 2011 crude death rate, at 8.1 per 1000 population, was up slightly from 8.0 in 2010 and 7.9 in 2009, although it remains lower than the 8.5 and 9.6 deaths per 1000 population reported in 2000 and 1950, respectively.
However, age-adjusted death rates, which control for variations in age distribution and are considered a better indicator of mortality risk over time than crude death rates, decreased from 7.5 deaths per 1000 US standard population in 2010 to 7.4 in 2011, a relative change of 1.3% and another record low. Deaths among children aged 1 to 19 years accounted for 20,192 of the 2,513,171 total deaths recorded in the United States in 2011. Accidents, homicide, and suicide were the 3 leading causes of death in this age group.
Life expectancy for children born in 2011 was 78.7 years, the same as in 2010. It was highest for Hispanic females, at 83.7 years, and lowest for non-Hispanic black males, at 71.6 years.


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