Twin, triplet, and higher number multiples births have hit an all-time high in the U.S., reports Pew Research Center staffer Gretchen Livingston. According to recently released data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 3.5% of all babies born in 2014 were twins, triplets or higher-order multiples, accounting for almost 140,000 births that year. This share is a record high for the U.S., and a dramatic increase from the first recorded share of 2% in 1915.
The Pew Research Center cites changing lifestyles as a possible cause for the increase in multiples births. The chances that a woman will have multiples increases with age, and women have delayed childbearing into their 30s as demographics and family trends shift. The increase in the use of fertility treatments also increases the likelihood of having more than one child at a time.
It’s worth noting that while the overall share and number of multiples is rising, there has been a decrease in births involving three or more babies. As recently as 2000, 7,300 births involved triplets or higher-order births. Today, that number stands at 4,500. Experts suggest this decline is due to improvements in artificial reproductive technology.