Circumcision Rates of New Born Babies in US hospitals down by 10 percent

A new study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics has found that the percentage of newborns who are circumcised in the United States have witnessed a 10 percent decline over the years.

The percentage of circumcision in hospitals has come down to 58.3 percent in 2010 from 64.5 percent in 1979.

The nation’s leading pediatrics group says the health benefits of newborn circumcision outweighs the risks, but rates for the procedure declined over the past three decades.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the percentage fell from 64.5% to 58.3% during the 32-year span. It was highest in 1981 at 64.9%, and lowest in 2007 at 55.4%. However the figures do not include circumcisions outside hospitals for religious or other reasons, says study co-author Maria Owings.


Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its policy on circumcision of newborns, saying that the health benefits outweigh potential risks. Numbers have gone up and down over the years.

One factor that may account for the overall decline in hospital-based circumcisions may be the decreased time babies now spend in the hospital, says pediatrician Douglas Diekema of the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

“Often they’re going home within 24 hours, so in some places, these procedures are increasingly being done by the pediatrician during the follow-up period in the doctor’s office or clinic as opposed to the hospital,” Diekema says.


Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the foreskin of the penis is removed. According to a WHO report, about 30 percent  of males worldwide in the age group 15 or above undergo circumcision. It is religious practice mostly adopted by Muslims. About 69 percent Muslims practice circumcision and only 1 percent  Jewish undergo such process.

There are several health benefits linked with the process. Recent research suggests circumcision does “help prevent certain kinds of infections,” says pediatrics group president Thomas McInerny.

In particular, “there is some evidence that the cells that make up the inner surface of the foreskin may provide an optimal target for the HIV virus.” Research also shows that circumcised males have a lower risk of urinary tract infections and penile cancer, he says.

Complications associated with circumcisions are rare, and include minor bleeding, local infection and pain, says Diekema, but those factors can be easily treated.

  • Mare54

    Oh Diekema……you are still at it…after in 2010 you advocated to support a ritual nick of the genitals of baby girls and got shot down over it and the advocation got retracted… you are still spreading inaccuracies about infant male circumcision. For example….”“there is some evidence that the cells that make up the inner surface of
    the foreskin may provide an optimal target for the HIV virus.” Research
    also shows that circumcised males have a lower risk of urinary tract
    infections and penile cancer, he says.”… failed to clarify that foreskin is a normal part of a male’s anatomy and that babies are NOT at risk for HIV or STD’s….. then you list UTI’s which are NOT common to begin with….and penile cancer which is also RARE and does not show up until elder years, IF at all. Also, how ethical and professional is it to state “there is some evidence….how much is “SOME”…. and where are you pulling this information from? Most of the newer HIV infections in the U.S. are from MSM (men having sex with men) which accounts for a small percentage of the population….so how does cutting the genitals of baby boys even pertain to this statistic? Can’t an adult male who feels this is something he believes will benefit him based on his lifestyle….make this choice for his OWN body when he is grown and can understand such a permanent genital alteration procedure and the risks involved? Your are so unethical, it is sad.

  • Hugh7

    What needs to be explained is not why Americans are cutting fewer boy babies, but why they are still doing it.

    After the late 19th century claim that cutting boys was good against the scourge of “self-abuse” – seriously thought to be responsible for many real illnesses – the custom spread throughout the English-speaking world, especially Australia and New Zealand, where it became nearly universal, as in the US, in the 1950s.

    Mid 20th century public health policies took out the profit motive, and it faded away to a residual level in New Zealand by 2000. Australia is similar, with fewer than one boy in eight being cut today – much fewer in some states. A generation has grown up looking different from their fathers, with no problem there, and no outbreaks of any of the diseases male genital cutting was supposed to be good against. New Zealand has one of the lowest HIV rates in the world (for reasons that have nothing to do with circumcision).

    Infant genital cutting is a human rights violation with inevitable harm and real risk, going all the way to death. How can the AAP claim that “the benefits outweigh the risks” when it can’t even put a figure on the number of circumcision deaths?