Send to

Choose Destination
Natl Vital Stat Rep. 1999 Sep 14;47(24):1-16.

Trends in twin and triplet births: 1980-97.


This report presents data from U.S. birth certificates on the numbers and rates of twin and triplet and other higher order multiple births for 1980-97. Over the study period, the number of twin births rose 52 percent (from 68,339 to 104,137) and triplet and other higher order multiple births (heretofore referred to as "triplet/+") climbed 404 percent (from 1,337 to 6,737 births). Comparable but less pronounced rises were observed in twin and triplet/+ birth rates. Growth in twin and triplet/+ birth rates was most marked among women aged 30 years and over. Between 1980-82 and 1995-97, the twin rate rose 63 percent for women aged 40-44 years, and soared nearly 1,000 percent for women 45-49 years. (As one result, there were more twins born to women 45-49 years of age in 1997, than during the entire decade of the 1980's.) The triplet/+ birth rate rose nearly 400 percent for women in their thirties and exploded by more than 1,000 percent for women in their forties. The extraordinary rise in multiple births resulted in a shift in age-specific patterns, and the highest twin and triplet/+ birth rates now are for women 45-49 years of age. Historical differences in twinning rates between non-Hispanic white and black mothers have been largely eliminated (28.8 per 1,000 non-Hispanic white compared with 30.0 for black women). Non-Hispanic white women were more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic black or Hispanic women to have a triplet/+ birth. Rates of low birthweight, very low birthweight, and infant mortality were 4 to 33 times higher for twins and triplet/+ compared with singleton births. The risk for these adverse outcomes was lowest for twins and triplet/+ born to women 35-44 years of age. Twin birth rates for Massachusetts and Connecticut were at least 25 percent higher than the U.S. rate; triplet/+ rates for Nebraska and New Jersey were twice the national level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for National Center for Health Statistics
Loading ...
Support Center