WASHINGTON, June 17 (UPI) -- The birth rate in the United States increased one percent in 2014 over the previous year, giving analysts reason to believe the nation's economy is growing stronger.
A National Center for Health Statistics study, published Wednesday, found the surge in birth rate among women ages 15 to 44 was the first increase since 2007, widely considered the beginning of the recession. At the same time, the study found the teen birthrate dropped by nine percent, a record low.
"The decline of the birth rate over the past few years can be attributed to the recession," Carl Haub, a senior demographer for the Population Reference Bureau, told USA TODAY. "The recession is ending – we think it's ending – for some people, so we might attribute a rise in the birth rate."
For every 1,000 women of childbearing years in 2014, there were 62.9 births up from 62.5 in 2013, the report said. The nation's total fertility rate -- a measure of how many children each woman is likely to have over her lifetime -- rose to 1.862 children from 1.858.
The drop among teens is being attributed to increasing availability to contraceptives, including the pill and IUD, considered by the Centers for Disease Control the best contraceptive for teens. The most recent peak of teen births was in 1991, with 62 births for every 1,000 women aged 15 to 19. Today, the rate is 24 per 1,000. The U.S. also saw a two percent drop among women in their 20s.
"Even as the teen birth rate continues to decline, the majority of teen pregnancies remain unattended or accidental," said Laura Lindberg, principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute. "There remains room for improvement to help teens be in charge of their own fertility and only get pregnant when they wish to get pregnant."