US Fertility Just Hit a 30 Year Low. Why That's a Problem for Social Security iStock
18 May, 2018, 14:48
"This is the third year that the [overall] number of births has declined after an increase in 2014, and the lowest number of births in 30 years", said a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it's hard to say for certain what's causing the decline, several factors may be at work, including economic uncertainty stemming from the economic downturn in 2007, reports LiveScience. That's the lowest tally since 1987.
That was surprising, because baby booms often parallel economic booms, and past year was a period of low unemployment and a growing economy. But the datashows that other effects are in play.
One may be shifting attitudes about motherhood among Millennials, who are in their prime child-bearing years right now. Normally, the drop-off in births is picked up by immigrants replenishing the population.
The numbers seem to correspond with what the Census Bureau and others have been predicting for years: America's population growth will increasingly depend on immigrants, after decades in which the USA enjoyed a relatively high fertility rate when compared with that of other developed countries.
Also, use of IUDs and other long-acting forms of contraception has been increasing.
The birth rate in the United States has been steadily declining over recent years, but the drop between 2016 and 2017 was the greatest yet seen, with 92,000 fewer births. Rates rose for women in their early 40's.
The cesarean section rate rose by a tiny amount after having decreased four years.
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There was also a slight rise in C-section deliveries. Meanwhile, the United States birth rate plunged to a 30-year low.
Broken out by age, the 2017 birthrate fell for teenagers by 7 percent, to 18.8 births per 1,000, a record low.
Rates for women in their 20s continued to hit record lows.
The CDC report also found that teenage birth rates are at an all-time low in this country.
Births for women in their 20s was down 4 percent; slightly down for women in their 30s; 2 percent down for women 30-34 and 1 percent for women 35-39.
Another notable finding: The current generation is getting further away from having enough children to replace itself. But the latest data suggests that an improving economy may not produce the expected increase in fertility from current levels, leaving the US below the replacement rate of 2.0 on a long-term and perhaps permanent basis. The replacement rate is 2,100 births per 1,000 women. It's still above countries such as Spain, Greece, Japan, and Italy, but the gap appears to be closing.
"That's a pretty remarkable decline", said Dr. John Santelli, a Columbia University professor of population and family health and pediatrics.
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