istock_000003267936xsmallThis week the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released the 2015 birth data file and accompanying data brief “Births in the United States, 2015.” This report plays a significant role in public health program planning and funding throughout the nation.

Our Bureau of Vital Records participated with vital records departments from across the country by submitting data transmissions to NCHS. The data submitted is reviewed by a team at NCHS for accuracy, quality assurance, trends in the data and many other factors. Bi-weekly reports were submitted back to Vital Records who performed verifications and validations on the reviewed data. When necessary Vital Records worked with the appropriate hospital or birthing center ensuring the accuracy or correction of the data.

The national birth file is a remarkable effort of coordination from a local level (hospitals and birthing centers) to a state level vital records offices, and ultimately to a national level. As a result of the successful collaboration efforts, NCHS was able to release the 2015 birth file with the fastest publication time in NCHS history.

A few highlights from the publication include:

  • There were 3.978 million births in the United States in 2015, down less than one percent from 2014.
  • The birth rate for teenagers aged 15 to19 declined 10 percent in 2013 from 2012, to 26.5 births per 1,000 teenagers aged 15 to 19, another historic low for the nation.
  • The 2015 U.S. general fertility rate (births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44) was down one percent from 2014.
  • Birth rates dropped in 2015 to record lows among women under age 30 and rose for those aged 30 to 44.
  • The cesarean delivery rate declined to 32 percent of births in 2015

Thank you and congratulations to our Vital Records staff for providing valuable information to this national report.