Births in the United States, 2021
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  • English

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    • Description:
      This report presents selected highlights from 2021 final birth data on key demographic, healthcare use, and infant health indicators. The number of births, general fertility rates (GFRs) (births per 1,000 females aged 15–44), age-specific birth rates (births per 1,000 females in specified age group), vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) delivery rates, and preterm (less than 37 weeks of gestation) birth rates are presented. Results for 2019, 2020, and 2021 are shown for all births to provide context for changes in birth patterns noted during 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic (1,2). VBAC and preterm birth rates are shown for the three largest race and Hispanic-origin groups: non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic.

      Key findings

      Data from the National Vital Statistics System

      ● The number of births in the United States rose 1% from 2020 to 2021, following a decline of 4% from

      2019 to 2020.

      ● The general fertility rate, which declined 4% from

      2019 to 2020, also rose 1%, from 55.7 births per 1,000 females aged 15–44 in 2020 to 56.3 in 2021.

      ● Following declines in birth rates for most age groups from 2019 to 2020, birth rates declined for age groups 15–19 and 20–24 and rose for age groups 25–29, 30–34, 35–39, and 40–44 between 2020

      and 2021.

      ● The rate of vaginal birth after cesarean delivery increased 2% from 2020 to 2021 to 14.2%.

      ● The preterm birth rate

      rose 4% in 2021 to 10.49%, following a decline of 1% from 2019 to 2020.

      Suggested citation: Martin JA, Hamilton BE, Osterman MJK. Births in the United States, 2021. NCHS Data Brief, no 442. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2022. DOI: cdc:119632.


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