May 20 (UPI) -- The birth rate dropped for the fifth year in a row in the United States, bringing the number of babies born across the country to a 35-year low, according to figures published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report reveals that the number of births in 2019 was 3.745 million, down 1 percent from 2018. The general fertility rate in 2019 was 58.2 births per 1,000 among women between 15 and 44 years of age, down 2 percent from 2018.
Apart from a slight rise in the birth rate in 2014, U.S. births have been falling annually since 2007, the agency said.
The findings, which are considered preliminary, are based on a review of more than 99 percent of birth certificates issued in 2019. Overall, the CDC found that the number of births fell by roughly 1 percent from 2018, to about 3.7 million.
Birth rates declined for nearly all age groups in 2019 -- although, they did increase slightly for women in their early 40s, the agency said.
In particular, the CDC reported, birth rates continued to fall for teen moms -- by 5 percent -- and for women in their 20s. In fact, the birth rate for mothers between age 15 and 19 have declined virtually every year since 1991.
Cesarean births also dropped to under 32 percent of total deliveries in 2019. The percentage of infants born prematurely -- after less than 37 weeks of gestation -- increased slightly for the fifth consecutive year, to more than 10 percent.