Introduction: This report analyzes crude birth rates and contraceptive use among women in the three primary racial/ethnic groups, White, Black, and Latina, and further examines birth rates by age-specific groups in the United States between 1990 and 2000.
Methods: The data examined here was derived from the NYC Vital Statistics 2002 Report and the Census 2000 SF4 table on Sex by Age by race and Latino nationality. The birth rates were calculated by dividing live birth numbers (Vital Statistics report) by total population count by age and racial/ethnic group (Census 2000 data) and multiplying this number by 1000.
Results: In the United States among women over 15 years of age, Latina women had significantly higher birth rates than Black and White women in both 1990 and 2000. Data also reveal that, overall, crude birth rates among Latinas increased by 3.7% from 1990 to 2000 while they decreased among Black women by – 13.8% and White women by -0.4%. While these data reveal national trends among women over the age of fifteen, there are variations when examining the data on crude birth rates among women in age-specific groups.
Discussion: While these data show that crude birth rates among Latina women were higher among all age groups, the percentage increase among women in all three racial/ethnic groups in their thirties and forties raises interesting comparative questions regarding family planning and other social, economic and cultural issues. These changes may have been the result of women in the work force choosing to postpone family planning until their careers were established. One question concerns why there were such comparative differentials between each racial/ethnic group. Are more women having children in their thirties because they are working to establish careers in their twenties? If this is so, then how would the comparative differentials between racial/ethnic groups be explained?
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