ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. circumcision rates vary widely nationwide, most likely due to regional variations in racial, ethnic and immigrant populations, a report found.
A report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality -- part of the U.S. Department of the Health and Human Services -- said the the operation is usually performed for cultural, religious or cosmetic reasons rather than for medical reasons.
The AHRQ's report analyzed hospital-based circumcisions in 2005. The report found that in the West, 31 percent of newborn boys were circumcised in hospitals in 2005 compared to 75 percent in the Midwest, 65 percent in the Northeast and 56 percent in the South. Factors influencing circumcision rates may include immigration from Latin America, and other areas where circumcision is less common, and insurance coverage.
Nationwide, about 56 percent of newborn boys -- 1.2 million infants -- were circumcised. U.S. circumcision peaked at 65 percent in 1980, but has remained fairly stable in the mid 50s percent for the past 10 years.
About 60 percent of circumcisions were billed to private insurance, 31 percent to Medicaid, nearly 3 percent to other public programs and about 4 percent were uninsured.