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C-Section Rates in the United States

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: June 3, 2005

The most recent data available from the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality show that U.S. women who have children at an older age are more likely to receive C-sections. In particular:

  • In 2001, the average C-section rate was 250 per 1,000 deliveries.
  • The average C-section rate was much higher among women age 35 and older (344 per 1,000 deliveries).
  • Women living in rural areas had higher C-section rates than those residing in metropolitan areas (267 vs. 248 per 1,000).
  • The C-section rate has increased steadily from 209 per 1,000 deliveries in 1997 to 250 per 1,000 in 2001.


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