We ask whether a woman had a baby in the last year to create statistics about fertility.
Local, state, tribal, and federal agencies use fertility data to plan government programs and adjust other important data as people are born, such as the size of the population eligible for different services. These statistics are also used to project the future size of the population and to understand more about growing families.
We use your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those in the results below and in the full tables that contain all the data—no one is able to figure out your survey answers from the statistics we produce. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.
We ask one question about whether a woman had a baby in the past 12 months to create statistics about the characteristics of women giving birth.
The results from this question are compiled to provide communities with important statistics to understand changing households and plan future services. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.
We ask about the numbers of women with a recent birth in combination with other information, such as marital status, labor force status, household income, health insurance status, and poverty status, to help communities understand changes in the demand for health care. For example, communities, tribes, and the federal government use statistics on how many American Indian babies are born to estimate the demand for health care through the Indian Health Service.
We ask about the characteristics of women who are giving birth, including where they live, to understand potential impacts on housing, public health, and pollution.
Though local vital statistics offices typically have a count of births per year, along with some characteristics of the parents, fertility data provide federal program planners, policymakers, and researchers a more complete picture of families. This is because we collect additional statistics about the age, education, and employment of parents in households welcoming children, and other important information about the homes (age, size, etc.) and households (poverty level, language spoken, and living arrangements, etc.).
State and local agencies use these statistics in combination with other information about new mothers, such as education and income, to understand future needs for the local education system and health services.
The decennial census began asking about fertility in 1940. The ACS fertility question was added in 2005 when the ACS replaced the decennial census long form.