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About Fertility

Fertility of American Women

The Census Bureau collects data on fertility in several of its surveys.

An historical perspective showing the cumulative fertility experience of women to date is available in the June Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS), which is collected every 2 years. The CPS data are collected from two survey questions asked of women 15 to 44 years old: (1) "How many children have you ever had?" and (2) "What is the date of birth of your last child?"

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) includes a Fertility History Topical Module, with detailed questions about fertility of American women and men, children ever born, mothers’ participation in the labor force, and maternity leave. The SIPP has the most detailed information on fertility and it is collected intermittently.

The current fertility experiences of women with a birth in the last year are shown based on data collected from the American Community Survey at the national and state level collected annually. The ACS fertility data are from a single survey question asked of women 15 to 50 years old: "Has this person given birth to any children in the past 12 months?" Some of the tables provide detail by age and/or race. Tables from the American Community Survey (ACS) are available at various levels of geography.

To access tables that show current marital status:

Fertility of American Men

The Census Bureau also conducts periodic collections of fertility history data for men and women. This includes data on the number of children ever fathered and whether or not fathers live with all of their children from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). For more information go to the Father’s Data section of the website.

Maternity Leave and Program Participation

The Census Bureau also conducts periodic collections of fertility history data for men and women. This includes retrospective fertility, employment, and maternity leave data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).

For a more comprehensive look at mothers’ participation in government assistance programs, based on SIPP Fertility History Topical Module, go to the Survey of Income and Program Participation section of the website and see the sections Fertility and Program Participation Data and Maternity Leave Data.

Fertility Rates

A fertility rate is normally expressed as the number of births per 1,000 women. For example, the teen birth rate is the number of births to women 15 to 19 divided by the number of women 15 to 19 multiplied by 1,000.

The National Center for Health Statistics is the federal agency that estimates these rates gathered from information on birth certificates collected from each state. Visit their Website or call them at 301-458-4636, or toll free at 1-800-232-4636.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Fertility |  Last Revised: 2012-05-22T14:20:32.437-04:00