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2003 Natality

Births and Birth Rates

There were 377,374 live births to Texas residents in 2003, an increase of 1.3 percent (5,005 more births) from 2002, and an increase of 17.5 percent (56,286 more births) from 1994.

Births and Birth Rates

In the ten-year period from 1994 through 2003, the proportion of births to white* mothers decreased every year, from 46.1 percent of all births in 1994 to 40.6 percent in 2003. At the same time, the proportion of births to Hispanic mothers increased from 41.4 percent of births in 1994 to 48.4 percent in 2003. The number of Hispanic births has exceeded the number of white births since 1996. The proportion of births to black mothers decreased from 12.5 percent in 1994 to 11.1 percent in 2003.

* Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.

The 2003 crude birth rate of 17.1 births per 1,000 Texas residents is the same as it was in 2002.  It represents the lowest rate on record. The rate for whites* dropped from 13.3 in 1994, to 12.7 in 2003. The crude birth rate for blacks declined from 19.0 in 1994 to 16.4 in 2003. The Hispanic rate went from 26.3 to 24.2.  

Crude Birth Rates

The general fertility rate for Texas, which is the number of live births to Texas residents per 1,000 women ages 15 through 44, was 76.7 in 2003.  In 1994, it was 74.5 (Figure B).  Like crude birth rates, race/ethnicity-specific general fertility rates have been highest among Hispanics, and lowest among whites* over the past ten years.  In 1994, the general fertility rates of whites*, black, and Hispanics were 58.3, 73.9, and 108.0, respectively.  In 2003, white* females' fertility rate increased to 61.3 while black and Hispanic females have decreased to 67.6 and 100.9.

General Fertility Rates

Mother’s Age and Father’s Age

More than half (54.8 percent) of Texas resident live births in 2003 were to mothers 20 to 29 years of age, and three-fourths (75.5 percent) were to mothers 20 to 34 years old (Table A). From 2002 to 2003, the percentage of teen-aged mothers declined. Mothers aged 10-17 accounted for 5.1 percent of the births in 2003, compared to 5.3 percent in 2002. The percentage of mothers aged 18 and 19 dropped from 9.0 to 8.7 percent. This decline is found for all race/ethnicities in this age group. In the same time frame, the percentage of births to mothers aged 30-34 and 35-39 increased from 20.2 to 20.7 percent and 8.7 to 8.8 percent respectively.


Table A.1. Percent distribution of live births by mother’s
age and race/ethnicity; Texas Residents, 2003.
Percent of Live Births**
Age White* Black Hispanic All Races
10-14 0.1 0.5 0.4 0.3
15-19 8.5 17.4 16.9 13.5
20-24 23.5 34.6 31.2 28.4
25-29 27.7 23.2 25.9 26.3
30-34 26.3 15.6 17.2 20.7
35-39 11.4 7.1 7.0 8.8
40+ 2.5 1.6 1.4 1.9
  • * Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.
  • ** Denominator for percent excludes missing data.
  • Note: due to rounding, percents may not sum to 100%


Table A.2. Percent distribution of live births by mother’s
age and race/ethnicity; Texas Residents, 2003.
Percent of Live Births for Selected Age Groups
Age White* Black Hispanic All Races
10-17 2.5 6.9 6.9 5.1
18-19 6.1 11.0 10.3 8.7
20-29 51.2 57.8 57.1 54.8
20-34 77.5 73.4 74.3 75.5
35+ 13.9 8.7 8.4 10.7
  • * Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.
  • ** Denominator for percent excludes missing data.
  • Note: due to rounding, percents may not sum to 100%

Mothers' ages ranged from 12 to 51 years; the mean mother's age was 26.4 years. Among birth certificates that included information on the father's age (86.2 percent of all birth certificates), fathers ranged in age from 13 to 85. The mean father's age was 29.4 years.

Age-specific birth rates, calculated as the number of live births per 1,000 women in the specified age group, were highest among women aged 20-24, followed by women aged 25-29 for all races combined (Table B). Hispanic women aged 20-24, followed by Hispanic women aged 25-29 and black women aged 20-24 had the highest age specific birth rates for individual race/ethnicities. White women were the only race/ethnicity whose highest age-specific birth rate occurred in the 25-29 age group. Age-specific birth rates for Hispanics were higher than rates for whites or blacks at every age group. Whites in the youngest three age groups had the lowest fertility; blacks had the lowest fertility in the remaining age groups.


Table B. Race/ethnicity and age-specific rates1
(live births per 1,000 women in the race/ethnicity and age group);
Texas Residents, 2003
Age White* Black Hispanic All Races
10-14 0.3 1.7
1.9
1.1
15-19 32.7 67.1
96.1
61.8
20-24 94.4 139.1
174.4
132.3
25-29 115.8 104.2
145.4
126.7
30-34 95.9 64.1
99.9
93.5
35-39 40.7
28.5
46.3
41.0
40-44 7.2
6.1 10.2 7.9
All ages^ 61.3
67.6 100.9 76.7
  • * Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.
  • ^ The general fertility rate. Numerator includes mothers of unknown ages; denominator is women 15-44 years of age.
  • 1. Rates were calculated using population data from the Texas A & M Department of Rural Sociology. Births of unknown race/ethnicity, and of racial/ethnic groups other than white, black or Hispanic were included with white for the purposes of calculating birth and fertility rates.

Marital Status

Overall, 65.6 percent of mothers reported being married. However, there were large differences in marriage rates across age groups and race/ethnicities (Table C). In general, white mothers were most likely to be married and black mothers least likely to be married. Very few mothers aged 14 and younger were married, although very young Hispanic mothers were most likely to be married and very young black mothers were least likely to be married. The likelihood of being married generally increased with the mother's age for all race/ethnicities, although marriage rates for white mothers dropped slightly beginning with the 35-39 age group, and for Hispanic mothers at age 40 and up. 


Table C. Marital status by mother's age and race/ethnicity;
Texas Residents, 2003;
Percent Married**
Age White* Black Hispanic All Races
10-14 5.8
1.0 8.8 6.8
15-19 30.3 5.8
30.8 27.1
20-24 62.6 23.7 54.9 53.3
25-29 87.0 48.8 71.3 75.8
30-34 93.4 67.7 79.2
85.5
35-39 92.6 69.8 79.1
85.4
40+ 89.9
70.4 75.5 82.8
All ages^ 78.8 37.2 61.1 65.6
  • * Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.
  • ** Denominator for percent excludes missing data.
  • ^ Numerator includes mothers of unknown ages.

Prenatal Care

Beginning with 2001 data, Vital Statistic annual reports do not include tables or data based on the Kessner Index. (These data may still be obtained by request.) Please see the sources at the end of this chapter for more information regarding strengths and weaknesses of various prenatal care utilization indexes 1, 2 .

This annual report still includes data on the month in which prenatal care began because it is one of the indicators suggested by the CDC's Healthy People 2010 initiative 3. The Kessner index data in Table 13 has been replaced with data on the mother's marital and educational status.


Table D. Trimester prenatal care began; Texas Residents, 2003
Percent of Live Births**
Trimester White* Black Hispanic All Races
1st 88.7 77.4 76.0 81.3
2nd 9.1 17.6 18.2 14.4
3rd 1.7 3.5 3.5 2.8
No care 0.5 1.5 2.3 1.5
  • * Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.
  • ** Denominator for percent excludes missing data.
  • Note: due to rounding, percents may not sum 100%.

Tobacco and Alcohol Use

Overall, 5.9 percent of mothers reported using tobacco during their pregnancy and 1.0 percent reported consuming alcohol. Of mothers who reported using tobacco during their pregnancy, 12.2 percent delivered low birth weight infants, compared to 7.6 percent of births to non-smokers. Of births to mothers who reported using alcohol during their pregnancy, 9.8 percent were low birth weight, compared to 7.9 percent for women who used no alcohol.

Place of Delivery and Birth Attendant

Nearly all Texans who gave birth in 2003 did so in a hospital (99.3 percent). A small number occurred in licensed birthing centers (0.3 percent) or at home (0.4 percent), or other locations (negligible).

Physicians delivered 94.5 percent of infants born to Texas residents. Certified nurse-midwives attended 4.7 percent of all births and lay midwives attended 0.4 percent. The remainder, about 0.4 percent, were delivered by other types of attendants, such as EMS workers, taxi drivers, or relatives.

Low Birth Weight and Very Low Birth Weight

There were 29,727 low birth weight (<2,500 grams) infants born to Texas residents in 2003, which is 7.9 percent of live births (Table E). The rate was 7.6 percent in 2001 and 7.7 percent in 2002. Since 1993, low birth weight infants have increased from 7.2 percent to 7.9 percent of live births.

The risk of giving birth to a low birth weight infant remains much higher for black mothers (13.6 percent) than for Hispanic mothers (7.0 percent) or white mothers (7.3 percent). The incidence of low birth weight infants is higher among the youngest and oldest mothers.  In 2003, 11.6 percent of births to mothers ages 14 and younger and 11.7 percent of births to mothers ages 40 and older were low birth weight.

A total of 5,133 births (1.4 percent of live births) were very low birth weight (<1,500 grams). This rate is slightly higher than the rate since 2001 (i.e. 1.3 percent). As with low birth weight, the risk of having a very low birth weight infant was highest for black mothers, and for the youngest and oldest mothers. The percentage of births to women 40 and over is up from 2001, when 1.7 percent of the women in that age group gave birth to very low birth weight infants.


Table E.1. Low birth weight and very low birth weight,
by mother's race/ethnicity; Texas Residents, 2003

Very Low Birth Weight
(<1,500 grams)
Low Birth Weight
(<2,500 grams)
Race/
Ethnicity
Number of
Births
Percent of
Births
Number of
Births
Percent of
Births
White* 1,837 1.2 11,212 7.3
Black 1,234 3.0 5,671 13.6
Hispanic 2,062 1.1 12,844 7.0
All Races 5,133 1.4 29,727 7.9
  • * Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.


Table E.2. Low birth weight and very low birth weight,
by mother's age; Texas Residents, 2003

Very Low Birth Weight
(<1,500 grams)
Low Birth Weight
(<2,500 grams)
Age Number of
Births
Percent of
Births
Number of
Births
Percent of
Births
10-14 23
2.4
112
11.6
15-19 829
1.6 4,687 9.2
20-24 1,340 1.2 8,363
7.8
25-29 1,177 1.2 6,953 7.0
30-34 1,041
1.3 5,781
7.4
35-39 574 1.7 2,998 9.0
40+ 149 2.1 830
11.7
Unknown 0
0.0 3
8.1
Total 5,133
1.4 29,727 7.9
  • * Includes women of other and unknown race/ethnicity.

Other Birth Characteristics

In 2003, male infants accounted for 51.0 percent of all births (192,581) and female infants accounted for 49.0 percent (184,793). The majority of all births were either first children (37.6 percent) or second children (30.3 percent). Third children accounted for 17.4 percent of all births, fourth children 7.0 percent, and fifth children 2.5 percent.

There were 366,272 singleton births, accounting for 97.1 percent of all births. Twin births accounted for 2.7 percent of all births.  Triplets and quadruplets occurred in less than 0.2 percent of all births.


  1. Kogan MD, Martin JA, Alexander GR, Kotelchuck M, Ventura SJ, Frigoletto FD. The changing pattern of prenatal care utilization in the United States, 1981-1995, using different prenatal care indices. JAMA, 279:1623-1628.
  2. Alexander GR, Kotelchuck M. Quantifying the adequacy of prenatal care: a comparison of indices. Public Health Rep 1996 Sep-Oct;111(5):408-18.
  3. http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/Document/html/Volume2/16MICH.htm#_Toc494699663; http://www.health.gov/healthypeople/Document/html/tracking/od16.htm#prenatalcare.

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Last updated May 07, 2010