ATLANTA, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- The provisional count of U.S. births for the 12-month period ending June 2011 was 3,978,000 -- or 2 percent lower than the year before -- health officials said.
A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics said the provisional fertility rate in the United States for the 12-month period ending June 2011 declined as well, down 2 percent to 64.4 births per 1,000 women ages 15-44 from 65.5 for the 12-month period ending June 2010.
There has been a decline in the fertility rate from the 17-year high of 69.5 in 2007 but the rate of decline appears to have slowed in the first six months of 2011, the report said.
The number of births declined for all race and Hispanic origin groups in 2010. The birth rate for U.S. teens ages 15-19 dropped 9 percent to 34.3 per 1,000 -- a record low for the nation, the report said.
The birth rates for women in their 20s and 30s declined in 2010. The rate for women ages 20-24 dropped 6 percent to 90 births per 1,000 women, the lowest level ever reported, and the birth rate for women in their early 40s rose in 2010 -- the only age-specific rate to do so, the report said.
The birth rate and the number of births for unmarried women each declined for the second consecutive year. The rate fell 4 percent to 49.9 per 1,000 unmarried women, but the percentage of births to unmarried women declined slightly to 40.8 percent in 2010, the report said.