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In 2006, there were 4.3 million children born in the United States. Approximately 55,000 of those children were born prematurely. Premature births have been increasing consistently since 1990 (though there appears to have been a slight drop in the rate of prematurity in 2007). In 1990, 10.6 percent of children were born prematurely; in 2006, that percentage had increased to 12.8 (preliminary numbers show a 12.6 percent rate in 2007 – still considerably higher than the rate in 1990). Last week, our center released an issue brief on this topic because we think it is such an important issue.