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Pediatrics. 1996 Dec;98(6 Pt 1):1007-19.

Annual summary of vital statistics--1995.

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Department of Maternal and Child Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Recent trends in the vital statistics of the United States continued in 1995, including decreases in the number of births, the birth rate, the age-adjusted death rate, and the infant mortality rate; life expectancy at birth increased to a level equal to the record high of 75.8 years in 1992. Marriages and divorces both decreased. An estimated 3,900,089 infants were born during 1995, a decline of 1% from 1994. The preliminary birth rate for 1995 was 14.8 live births per 1000 total population, a 3% decline, and the lowest recorded in nearly two decades. The fertility rate, which relates births to women in the childbearing ages, declined to 65.6 live births per 1000 women 15 to 44 years old, the lowest rate since 1986. According to preliminary data for 1995, fertility rates declined for all racial groups with the gap narrowing between black and white rates. The fertility rate for black women declined 7% to a historic low level (71.7); the preliminary rate for white women (64.5) dropped just 1%. Fertility rates continue to be highest for Hispanic, especially Mexican-American, women. Preliminary data for 1995 suggest a 2% decline in the rate for Hispanic women to 103.7. The birth rate for teenagers has now decreased for four consecutive years, from a high of 62.1 per 1000 women 15 to 19 years old in 1991 to 56.9 in 1995, an overall decline of 8%. The rate of childbearing by unmarried mothers dropped 4% from 1994 to 1995, from 46.9 births per 1000 unmarried women 15 to 44 years old to 44.9, the first decline in the rate in nearly two decades. The proportion of all births occurring to unmarried women dropped as well in 1995, to 32.0% from 32.6% in 1994. Smoking during pregnancy dropped steadily from 1989 (19.5%) to 1994 (14.6%), a decline of about 25%. Prenatal care utilization continued to improve in 1995 with 81.2% of all mothers receiving care in the first trimester compared with 78.9% in 1993. Preliminary data for 1995 suggests continued improvement to 81.2%. The percent of infants delivered by cesarean delivery declined slightly to 20.8% in 1995. The percent of low birth weight (LBW) infants continued to climb in 1994 rising to 7.3%, from 7.2% in 1993. The proportion of LBW improved slightly among black infants, declining from 13.3% to 13.2% between 1993 and 1994. Preliminary figures for 1995 suggest continued decline in LBW for black infants (13.0%). The multiple birth ratio rose to 25.7 per 1000 births for 1994, an increase of 2% over 1993 and 33% since 1980. Age-adjusted death rates in 1995 were lower for heart disease, malignant neoplasms, accidents, and homicide. Although the total number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection deaths increased slightly from 42,114 in 1994 to an estimated 42,506 in 1995, the age-adjusted death rate for HIV infection did not increase, which may indicate a leveling off of the steep upward trend in mortality from HIV infection since 1987. Nearly 15,000 children between the ages of 1-14 years died in the United States (US) in 1995. The death rate for children 1 to 4 years old in 1995 was 40.4 per 100,000 population aged 1 to 4 years, 6% lower than the rate of 42.9 in 1994. The 1995 death rate for 5- to 14-year-olds was 22.1, 2% lower than the rate of 22.5 in 1994. Since 1979, death rates have declined by 37% for children 1 to 4 years old, and by 30% for children 5 to 14 years old. For children 1 to 4 years old, the leading cause of death was injuries, which accounted for for an estimated 2277 deaths in 1995, 36% of all deaths in this age group. Injuries were the leading cause of death for 5- to 14-year-olds as well, accounting for an ever higher percentage (41%) of all deaths. In 1995, the preliminary infant mortality rate was 7.5 per 1000live births, 6% lower than 1994, and the lowest ever recorded in the US. The decline occurred for neonatal as well as postneonatal mortality rates, and among white and black infants alike.

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