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Trends in Out-of-Hospital Births in the U.S., 1990-2012

Back in 1900 very few women went to hospitals for childbirth, but the opposite is true today. By 2004 out-of-hospitals births accounted for only 0.87% of the nation’s births. Since 2004, however, that percentage has inched up to 1.36% in 2012. Two-thirds of non-hospital births took place at home in 2012, while the share of births in birthing centers had increased to 0.39%.

Non-Hispanic white women have the highest rate of non-hospitals births — 2.05%. Alaska, Idaho, and Montana had a higher rate of births outside the hospital, while Delaware, Indiana, and Utah had fewer than the national average.

According to AHA Hospitals Statistics, there were 3,15,479 hospital births in U.S. registered community hospitals in 2012, a decline over the past five years. The hospital birth rate per 1000 population has also decreased over the past five years, down to 11.8 in 2012. Similarly, total births and birth rates, regardless of birth setting, have waned nationally over the same time period.


MacDorman MF and others. Trends in out-of-hospital births in the United States, 1990-2012. NCHS [National Center for Health Statistics] Data Brief, no. 144, Mar. 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db144.htm

AHA Hospital Statistics, 2014  edition. Health Forum, an American Hospital Association affiliate, Jan. 2014. Purchase details at http://www.ahadataviewer.com/book-cd-products/AHA-Statistics/

Martin JA and others. Births: final data for 2012. National Vital Statistics Reports, vol 62, no. 9, Dec. 30, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr62/nvsr62_09.pdf

Related resource: National vital statistics system: birth data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed Mar. 4, 2014 at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/births.htm

Update: Doyle K. Out-of-hospital births on the rise in U.S. Reuters Health, Mar. 28, 2016. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-homebirths-idUSKCN0WU1G1

Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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