CDC: Pregnancy, abortion rates at historic lows

Researchers said new data puts the decreasing birth rate in better perspective, though they did not speculate on explanations for the drops.
By Stephen Feller  |  Dec. 11, 2015 at 11:32 AM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The rate of pregnancy and abortion have declined to the lowest levels since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started tracking numbers, according to a newly released report from the agency.

CDC researchers said the lower rates match up with a drop in birth rates seen since 2007, although a small increase was seen in the birth rate in 2014, and offer a better picture of reproductive trends in the United States.

"Much has been written about the birth rate, and much about the abortion rate, but a lot are shown separately," Sally Curtin, a statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics, told Time. "If we put abortions in context, you can see that in a given year, the numbers of abortions, which is 1.1 million, is about the same as fetal loss. It used to be very different. If you look back, the number of abortions in 1976 was almost twice that."

The pregnancy rate for women dropped to 98.7 per 1,000, which is 15 percent below the peak in 1990 of 115.8 per 1,000. The estimated number of pregnancies in 2010, 6.155 million, is the lowest number observed since 1986, and breaks down to 3.999 million live births, 1.103 million induced abortions, and 1.053 million fetal losses.

The 2010 abortion rate, also a record low, was 17.7 per 1,000 women, a 35 percent decline from the rate in 1990.

Pregnancy rates were highest for women between the ages of 25 and 29, at 157.1 per 1,000, followed by women ages 20 to 24 at 144.6 per 1,000, which represent declines of 12 percent and 27 percent respectively since 1990. Although pregnancy rates for women in the their 30s have increased during the last 20 years, CDC researchers said those numbers have also been declining since 2006.

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