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A new Census Bureau report on fertility shows that 20 percent of women 40 to 44 were childless in 2006, twice as high as the level 30 years earlier. Among other highlights, the report, Fertility of American Women: 2006, found:
The report is the first from the Census Bureau on this topic to use data from the American Community Survey, resulting in state-by-state comparisons of fertility characteristics. Data from the Current Population Survey are also included in the report, permitting historical comparisons of levels of childlessness and births.
This report shows a great deal of variation among states in the characteristics of mothers who had given birth in the previous year. Such mothers, for instance, in the District of Columbia, Mississippi and North Carolina were the most likely to have never married. In addition, recent mothers in California were the most apt to be foreign-born, while those in Mississippi were the likeliest to be poor.
The report also finds that the national birth rate for women age 15 to 50 receiving public assistance in 2006 was about three times of those not receiving public assistance. A decade after the passage of welfare reform in 1996, data show that women in this age range receiving public assistance had a birth rate of 155 births per 1,000 women, compared with 53 births per 1,000 women not receiving it.