NCHS Issues Data Brief on Increase in Twin Births

ASRM BULLETIN – Volume 14, Number 1 – January 4, 2012

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) released a data brief on the increase of twin births over the last three decades. Among the key findings reported by the NCHS:

  • In 2009, 1 in every 30 babies born in the United States was a twin, compared with 1 in every 53 babies in 1980.
  • The twin birth rate rose 76 percent from 1980 through 2009, from 18.9 to 33.3 per 1,000 births.
  • If the rate of twin births had not changed since 1980, approximately 865,000 fewer twins would have been born in the United States over the last three decades.
  • Over the three decades, twin birth rates rose by nearly 100 percent among women aged 35–39 and more than 200 percent among women aged 40 and over.
  • The older age of women at childbirth in 2009 compared with three decades earlier accounts for only about one-third of the rise in twinning over the 30 years. The remaining increase is assumed to be from an increase in the use of infertility treatments.

The report highlights the impact that the rise in the rate of twins has had on perinatal health and rates of preterm birth and low birthweight.

To view the data brief, go to: