Births Rose for the First Time in Seven Years in 2021

Posted on by NCHS

The number of births in the United States and the general fertility rate increased for the first time in seven years during 2021. The data released today are featured by CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

The new report, “Births: Provisional Data for 2021,” analyzes data from more than 99% of birth certificates issued during the year. The report shows a 1% increase in births from 2020, with 3,659,289 births recorded in 2021. The general fertility rate in 2021 was 56.6 births per 1,000 women ages 15–44, also up 1% from 2020. In contrast, the number of births and general fertility rate both declined 4% from 2019 to 2020.

Other findings in the new report:

  • Birth rates declined for women in the age groups between 15 and 24 years, rose for women in the age groups between 25 and 49 years, and were unchanged for adolescents aged 10-14 in 2021.
  • The birth rate for teenagers ages 15–19 declined by 6% in 2021 to 14.4 births per 1,000 females.
  • The teen birth rate has declined every year except for two (2006 and 2007) since 1991. The rates declined in 2021 for both younger (ages 15–17) and older (ages 18–19) teenagers.
  • The cesarean delivery rate increased to 32.1% in 2021. The low-risk cesarean delivery rate
    increased to 26.3%.
  • The preterm birth rate rose 4% in 2021 to 10.48%—the highest rate reported since at least 2007
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Page last reviewed: May 24, 2022
Page last updated: May 24, 2022