U.S. Fertility Measures Largely Unchanged Since 2002

Data from National Survey of Family Growth illustrate fertility measures for 15- to 44-year-olds

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Fertility measures for 15- to 44-year olds for 2006 to 2010 are similar to findings from 2002, according to an April 12 data brief issued by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

Gladys Martinez, Ph.D., from the NCHS in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues analyzed data collected by in-person interviews as part of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) on fertility in the United States. The fertility experiences of 15- to 44-year-old U.S. males and females were presented based on data from 2006 to 2010, and were compared with data for similar measures from 2002. The NSFG sample comprised 10,403 male and 12,279 female respondents, with a response rate of 75 and 78 percent, respectively.

The researchers found that many of the fertility measures from the 2006 to 2010 data were similar to those based on 2002 data. For women and men, the mean age at first child's birth was 23 and 25, respectively. For women and men, respectively, one-half and two-thirds of first births occurred in their 20s. At the time of the interview, women aged 15 to 44 years had an average of 1.3 children. By age 40, 76 percent of men had fathered a child and 85 percent of women had had a birth. The percent of first births to women that occurred within a cohabiting union increased from 12 percent in 2002 to 22 percent in 2006 to 2010. Hispanic origin, race, and other demographic characteristics affected these measures.

"The NSFG is a rich source of data on measures of fertility of men and women in the United States," the authors write.

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