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2011 Vital Statistics Data for Children Released

Number of births continues to drop, while death rates for children, teenagers unchanged

MONDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- In 2011 the number of births in the United States continued to decline, while there was no substantial change in death rates for children and adolescents, according to research published online Feb. 11 in Pediatrics.

Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues reviewed vital records data, including birth and death records, for 2011.

The researchers found that from 2010 to 2011 there was a 1 percent decrease in the number of births in the United States, to a total of 3,953,593. There was also a 1 percent decline in the general fertility rate, to 63.2 births per 1,000 women, the lowest rate ever reported. The teenage birth rate dropped to 31.3 births per 1,000 women, also a historic low. For the fifth straight year the preterm birth rate declined, to 11.72 percent in 2011. The rate of low birth weight also decreased slightly, to 8.10 percent, but no significant decrease was noted in the infant mortality rate (6.05 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 versus 6.15 deaths in 2010). From 2010 to 2011 there was no significant change in crude death rates for children aged 1 to 19 years. Unintentional injuries and homicide accounted for 47.0 percent of all deaths of children and adolescents in 2011, and were the first and second leading causes of death, respectively.

"The value of vital statistics will improve through efforts to advance data quality, particularly the quality of the health and medical information," the authors write.

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