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U.S. birth rates rose last year, but still less than before the pandemic News

NEW YORK – Birth rates in the United States rose last year, but the number of babies born was still lower than before the coronavirus pandemic.

The small increase of 1 percent was a slight rebound from 2020, the first year of the pandemic, which witnessed the largest annual drop in U.S. birth rates in nearly 50 years.

But last year there were still about 86,000 fewer births than in 2019, according to a government report released on Tuesday.

“We’re still not getting back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine.

The birth rate in the U.S. had been declining for more than a decade before COVID-19 hit, and “I expected that we would continue to see a small, modest decline,” she said.

Officials believe last year’s growth reflects births from pregnancies that were postponed to the uncertain first days of the pandemic. Supplies declined significantly in January 2021, but improved over the year, said Brady Hamilton of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Much of the increase was observed in older mothers.

“These are births that have been postponed,” said Hamilton, lead author of the new report.

The report is based on a review of almost all birth certificates issued last year.

Some of the key findings are:

• Last year, almost 3.7 million births were registered, compared to about 3.6 million in 2020.

• Birth rates dropped again for teens and women under 25, but rose 3 percent for women in the early 1930s, 5 percent for women in the late 1930s and 3 percent for women in the early 1940s. years.

• Birth rates increased by 1 percent for Hispanic women and 3 percent for white women. But they fell 1 percent for Asian women, 3 percent for blacks and 4 percent for Indians and Alaskans.

This may reflect the stronger impact of the pandemic on the health and lives of some racial groups, experts say.

• The United States was once one of the few developed countries with a birth rate that provided each generation with enough children to replace themselves – about 2.1 children per woman. But it is slipping, and in 2020 dropped to about 1.6, the lowest ever. Last year it grew slightly, to almost 1.7.

• The percentage of children born prematurely and prematurely – less than 37 weeks of age – rose 4 percent to about 10.5 percent. This was the highest figure since 2007.

The premature birth rate fell slightly in 2020, and health officials aren’t sure why the increase occurred. But older mothers are more likely to give birth prematurely than women infected with COVID-19, said Joyce Martin of the CDC, co-author of the study.

The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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