Objectives: This report presents 2010 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, 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 4.0 million births that occurred in 2010 are presented. Denominators for population-based rates are postcensal estimates derived from the U.S. 2010 census.
Results: The number of births declined to 3,999,386 in 2010, 3 percent less than in 2009. The general fertility rate also declined 3 percent, to 64.1 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. The teen birth rate fell 10 percent to 34.2 per 1,000. Birth rates for women in each 5-year age group from 20 through 39 years declined, but the rate for women aged 40-44 continued to rise. The total fertility rate (estimated number of births over a woman's lifetime) was down 4 percent to 1,931 per 1,000 women. The number, rate, and percentage of births to unmarried women declined. The cesarean deliver rate was down for the first year since 1996 to 32.8 percent. The preterm birth rate declines for the fourth year in a row to 11.99 percent; the low birthweight rate was stable at 8.15 percent. The twin birth rate declined slightly to 33.1 per 1,000 births; the triplet and higer-order multipe birth rate dropped 10 percent to 137.6 per 100,000.