Objectives: This report presents 2000 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 characteristics (medical risk factors, weight gain, tobacco and alcohol use); medical care utilization by pregnant women (prenatal care, obstetric procedures, complications of labor and/or delivery, attendant at birth, and method of delivery); and infant characteristics (period of gestation, birthweight, Apgar score, abnormal conditions, 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 4.059 million births that occurred in 2000 are presented.
Results: The number of births rose 3 percent in 2000; birth and fertility rates rose 1 to 2 percent. The total fertility rate was above "replacement" for the first time in almost 30 years. Teenage birth rates continued to fall while birth rates for women aged 20-24 years rose slightly, and rates for women in their late twenties and thirties rose 3 to 5 percent. Births to women in their forties and early fifties were also up for 2000. The number of births to unmarried women, the birth rate, and the percent of births that were to unmarried women rose 1 to 3 percent, but birth rates for unmarried teenagers declined. Smoking by pregnant women was down again. The cesarean delivery rate rose 4 percent to 22.9, the fourth consecutive increase; the primary cesarean rate was up and the rate of vaginal births after a previous cesarean was down. The number and rate of twin births continued to rise, but the triplet/+ birth rate declined for the second year in a row. For the first year in almost a decade the preterm birth rate declined (to 11.6 percent); the low birthweight rate, however, was unchanged at 7.6 percent.