U.S. Birthrates Fall to Record Low

Last year’s data are another sign of how American childbearing, which began declining during the 2007-09 recession, never fully rebounded

From Janet Adamy at the WSJ

American women had babies at record-low rates last year and pushed U.S. births down to their smallest total in 35 years, according to federal figures released Wednesday.

About 3.75 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2019, down 1% from the prior year, provisional figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics showed. The general fertility rate fell 2% to 58.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, its lowest level since the government began tracking the figure in 1909.

From the National Review:

The only age group that saw an increase in births was for women in their 40s.

“Women are still having children,” said Brady Hamilton, a statistician who helped write the new CDC report. “They’re just holding off until a later point in time until they establish their education and establish their career.”

The current trend may appear unusual. While birthrates generally drop following economic crises, birthrates have continued to fall after the 2008 recession despite the economic recovery. With the added pressure brought on by the pandemic, birthrates could fall even further.

“People that were products of the Great Depression, the birthrates were much lower for that cohort than they were for people born after World War II,” Brasher commented.

But the U.S. is not the only country currently experiencing a declining birthrate. Many advanced democracies in Europe and East Asia are also seeing a decline or leveling-off in birth rates, with  lower absolute levels than the U.S. Meanwhile, total fertility rates — the number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifetime — are declining globally, while birthrates remain high across the developing world

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