Objectives: This report presents 2009 data on U.S. births according to a wide variety of characteristics. Data are presented for maternal characteristics including age, live-birth order, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, hypertension during pregnancy, attendant at birth, method of delivery, and infant characteristics (period of gestation, birthweight, and plurality). Birth and fertility rates by age, live-birth order, race and Hispanic origin, and marital status also are presented. Selected data by mother's state of residence are shown, as well as birth rates by age and race 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 4.13 million births that occurred in 2009 are presented. Denominators for population-based rates are postcensal estimates derived from the U.S. 2000 census.
Results: The number of births declined to 4,130,665 in 2009, 3 percent less than in 2008. The general fertility rate declined 3 percent to 66.7 per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years. The teenage birth rate fell 6 percent to 39.1 per 1,000. Birth rates for women in each 5-year age group from 20 through 39 years declined, but the rate for women 40-44 years continued to rise. The total fertility rate (estimated number of births over a woman's lifetime) was down 4 percent to 2,007.0 per 1,000 women. The number and rate of births to unmarried women declined, whereas the percentage of nonmarital births increased slightly to 41.0. The cesarean delivery rate rose again, to 32.9 percent. The preterm birth rate declined to 12.18 percent; the low birthweight rate was stable at 8.16 percent. The twin birth rate increased to 33.2 per 1,000; the triplet and higher-order multiple birth rate rose 4 percent to 153.5 per 100,000.