- The preliminary estimate of total births in the U.S. for 2006 was 4,265,996, a 3 percent increase -- or 127,647 more births -- than in 2005.
- Birth rates increased for women in their twenties, thirties and early forties between 2005 and 2006, as well as to teenagers.
- The Caesarean delivery rate rose again in 2006, to 31.1 percent of all births, a 3 percent increase from 2005 and a new record high.
- The percentage of all births delivered by cesarean has climbed 50 percent over the last decade.
- The preterm birth rate rose slightly between 2005 and 2006, from 12.7 percent to 12.8 percent of all births. The percentage of births delivered before 37 weeks of gestation has risen 21 percent since 1990.
- The low birthweight rate also rose slightly in 2006, from 8.2 percent in 2005 to 8.3 percent in 2006, a 19 percent jump since 1990.
- As a result of the increases in the birth rates for women aged 15-44, the total fertility rate - an estimate of the average number of births that a group of women would have over their lifetimes - increased 2 percent in 2006 to 2,101 births per 1,000 women. This is the highest rate since 1971 and the first time since then that the rate was above replacement - the level at which a given generation can replace itself.
The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs. More information on maternal and infant health birth characteristics, including the latest information on multiple births, can be found in another new report released today: "Births: Final Data for 2005," also available at www.cdc.gov/nchs.