U.S. women in 30s now have high­est birth rate

Cape Breton Post - - Classifieds / Lifestyles - BY MIKE STOBBE

For the first time, women in their early 30s are hav­ing more ba­bies than younger moms in the United States.

Health ex­perts say the shift is due to more women wait­ing longer to have chil­dren and the on­go­ing drop in the teen birth rate.

For more than three decades, women in their late 20s had the high­est birth rates, but that changed last year, ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary data re­leased Wed­nes­day by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

The birth rate for women ages 30 to 34 was about 103 per 100,000; the rate for women ages 25 to 29 was 102 per 100,000. The CDC did not re­lease the ac­tual num­bers of de­liv­er­ies for each age group.

It’s be­com­ing more com­mon to see older par­ents with kids in ele­men­tary or high school, said Bill Al­bert of the Na­tional Cam­paign to Pre­vent Teen and Un­planned Preg­nancy.

Mean­while, more teens are grow­ing up with fewer of their peers get­ting preg­nant, he said.

“We al­ways talk about peer pres­sure as a neg­a­tive, but it can be a force for good,” Al­bert said.

A sep­a­rate CDC re­port fo­cus­ing on deaths found the na­tion’s over­all death rate fell last year af­ter an un­usual and wor­ri­some in­crease in 2015. The re­ports are based on a first look at birth and death cer­tifi­cates filed across the coun­try last year.

Among the find­ings:

- The over­all birth rate was down slightly in 2016, to 62 births per 100,000 women ages 15 to 44.

- The av­er­age age when women have their first child is about 28.

- The teen birth rate con­tin­ued to drop last year.

- The in­fant mor­tal­ity rate stayed about the same.

- The over­all death rate fell to about 724 per 100,000 peo­ple in 2016, down from 733 the year be­fore.

Ex­perts said the 2015 in­crease was tied to an un­ex­pected lev­el­ling off in the death rate from the na­tion’s lead­ing killer, heart dis­ease.

Heart dis­ease and stroke deaths were fall­ing steadily un­til 2011, but then the an­nual de­creases shrank. In 2015, the heart dis­ease death rate in­creased nearly 1 per cent, and started to go down again in 2016.

Now it seems like 2015 may have been blip, “but we can’t tell right now what will hap­pen next year or in the next cou­ple of years,” said Dr. Stephen Sid­ney, a re­searcher at Kaiser Per­ma­nente North­ern Cal­i­for­nia who has writ­ten on heart dis­ease death trends.

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