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Which states have the highest and lowest homebirth rates?

The rate of homebirths has been steadily increasing in the US
The rate of homebirths has been steadily increasing in the US

Do you know how your state ranks in number of homebirths?

There's an incredible range in the percentages of births that are homebirths in the United States. The CDC has compiled the most recent homebirth data from 2012, and the numbers say a lot.

The states with the highest rates are Alaska (with a whopping 5.8% homebirth rate) and Montana (at 3.94%).

Other states with high homebirth rates include:

  • Oregon (3.8%)
  • Idaho (3.44%)
  • Washington (3.44%)
  • Pennsylvania (3.13%)
  • Utah (2.89%)

Rhode Island (0.33%), Mississippi (0.38%) and Alabama (0.39%) have the lowest homebirth rates.

Other states with homebirth rates that are less than 1% include:

  • New Jersey (0.44%)
  • Illinois (0.53%)
  • South Dakota (0.62%)
  • Georgia (0.64%)
  • West Virginia (0.70%)
  • Nebraska (0.75%)
  • Connecticut (0.84%)
  • Oklahoma (0.85%)
  • California (0.88%)
  • Massachusetts (0.91%)
  • North Carolina (0.97%)
  • North Dakota (0.98%)

The CDC reports that rates of homebirths have been increasing. Other facts from the CDC include:

  • The increase was largest for non-Hispanic white women, whose percentage of out-of-hospital births increased from 1.20% in 2004 to 2.05% in 2012.
  • In 2012, 1 in 49 births to non-Hispanic white women were out-of-hospital births. Two-thirds (66%) of out-of-hospital births occurred at home, and another 29% occurred in a freestanding birthing center.
  • In 2012, 1.9% of out-of-hospital births were to teen mothers, compared with 7.9% of hospital births. However, a greater percentage of out-of-hospital (19.0%) than hospital births (14.9%) were to mothers aged 35 and over.
  • The number of U.S. birthing centers increased from 170 in 2004 to 195 in 2010 and to 248 in January 2013; 13 states still did not have a birthing center in the most recent period.
  • Compared with hospital births, home and birthing center births tended to have lower risk profiles, with fewer births to teen mothers and fewer preterm, low birthweight, and multiple births.
  • Although not representative of all U.S. births, 88% of home births in a 36-state reporting area were planned in 2012.

Laws and insurance coverage vary widely in the United States regarding homebirths and related services, such as midwifery services. Click the map here to learn more about the status of midwifery in your area, including legal status information, local organizations and resources, and news.

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