If you welcomed a swaddled little bumpkin into the world last year, you don’t need anyone to tell you that your precious little snowflake is one-of-a-kind — but 3,988,076 other guys could! That’s how many babies were born in 2014, according to a new report from the National Center For Health Statistics.
Some context: That’s just a one percent increase from 2013, although the total fertility rate rose to about 1,800 per 1,000 women. Fewer babies were born through C-section, and even fewer babies were born as preemies. Early births (less than 36 weeks) went down 8 percent from 2007, which is promising since preterm birth is a major factor in determining infant mortality rates. And while XXL-size Duggar families like quadruplets and triplets are down, the twin birth rate hit a new record: 33.9 per 1,000 babies. So expect to embarrass yourself by calling your kid’s twin friends by the wrong name several times a month until college.
But reports like this one are about more than trivia for you and the parents of all those twins to kick around on the sideline of youth soccer games — they fuel policy. And, on that end, the numbers are promising: The number of teen parents declined 9 percent, the rate of low-birthweight babies (born less than 2,500 grams) held steady, and it’s still 3 percent lower than in 2006. Then again, the government does have one cohort they’re going to need to keep an eye on going forward, because the number of moms over 50 shot up nearly 10 percent.