WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) — During 2007 to 2017, fertility rates decreased in the United States for each urbanization level, according to an October data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Danielle M. Ely, Ph.D., and Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Md., and colleagues describe trends and differences in total fertility rates and mean maternal age at first birth for rural and metropolitan counties from 2007 through 2017.

The researchers found that total fertility rates deceased for rural and metropolitan counties during 2007 to 2017, with decreases of 12, 16, and 18 percent in rural, small or medium metro, and large metro counties, respectively. For each year from 2007 to 2017, rural counties had higher total fertility rates compared with small or medium metro and large metro counties. The mean age of mothers at first birth increased by 1.3, 1.5, and 1.8 years during 2007 to 2017 in rural, small or medium metro, and large metro counties, respectively. Compared with metro counties, the mean age of mothers at first birth was lower in rural counties for all years.

“The differences in total fertility rates between rural and metro areas are consistent with previous research describing differences in childbearing behaviors and a higher average number of children in rural areas compared with metro areas,” the authors write.

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