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March 1, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Washington residents: fewer babies, more divorces

Washington residents, on average, are having fewer pregnancies, births and abortions, state public health officials reported Thursday.

But more of those who are pregnant were getting prenatal care in 2010 than the year before, and fewer were smoking: 9.2 percent, down from 9.8 percent in 2009.

State Health Officer Dr. Maxine Hayes said birth rates have been declining for the past few years, both in Washington and nationwide, coinciding with the economic downturn.

There were 108,045 pregnancies in Washington in 2010, a 4 percent drop from 2009. The greatest decrease was among teens ages 15-19, falling 12 percent to 9,348. Births, at 86,480, were down 3 percent from the year before (the high was 2008, with 90,270 births), and abortions, at 21,066, were down 7 percent.

The state’s population, as it has since 1910, continues to rise. The population last year was  6,724,540.

Suicides also have been rising for several years, with 947 in 2010, the last year for which health officials have gathered and verified the numbers.

Overall, 47,981 state residents died in 2010, down from 48,202 in 2009. The top cause was cancer, closely followed by heart disease. More than a third of those who died were older than age 84.

Life expectancy for a child born in 2010 in Washington is now over 78 years for males and 82.5 years for females; Washington has consistently been about two years ahead of the national average, but 2010 figures are not yet available nationally.

About the same number of couples got married last year as the year before, with just over 40,000 marriages. The oldest bride was 103, the oldest groom was 97, and Aug. 21 was the overall most-preferred date to tie the knot.

Divorces were up: 27,068, up from 25,395 in 2009.

For more statistics from the Washington State Department of Health, see http://1.usa.gov/waz1Jd.

 

Comments | More in General news | Topics: abortions, births, deaths

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