Friday, 21 September, 2018

Lowest US birthrate in three decades could pose risk to economy

This chart from the Ohio Department of Health shows the state's declining birth rate This chart from the Ohio Department of Health shows the state's declining birth rate
Pablo Mccormick | 18 May, 2018, 14:51

Although you wouldn't know it from the constant barrage of pregnant celebrity pics on social media, the fertility rate in the US-the number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44-fell to 60 a year ago, its lowest level since the government started tracking the figure in 1909, reports NPR.

Another factor may be changing immigration patterns. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the birth rate is down in almost every age group tracked. That's the lowest tally since 1987.

To many this has come as something of a surprise; the economy is doing pretty well and this is usually matched with a baby boom.

But other factors are likely at play, experts said. One possible cause could be that millennials, who are in their prime childbearing years, are choosing to have fewer children later in life, if they choose to have children at all. That measure now stands at 1,764.5 births per 1,000 women - a 3 percent drop from 2016. Asians, who increasingly are a larger share of net immigration to the USA, tend to have fewer children than other immigrant groups.

Also, use of IUDs and other long-acting forms of contraception has been increasing.

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The teen birth rate has declined by 55 percent, or almost eight percent per year, since 2007, according to the report.

Interestingly, the number of women in their 30's having children declined, while those in their 40;s continued to rise. The trustees assume that the rate will rise as the economy strengthens, reaching 2.05 by 2023, then dropping slightly to 2.0 by 2027.

In total, there were 3.853 million births a year ago, the lowest since 1987.

In the United States, the provisional or "draft" number of births in 2017 was tallied at 3,853,472 births - a 2 percent drop from the year before. That's a two percent drop from 2016.

Rates for women in their 20s continued to hit record lows. They fell 4 percent.

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The CDC report also found that teenage birth rates are at an all-time low in this country.

Birth rates for women in their 30s had been rising steadily to the highest levels in at least half a century, and women in their early 30s recently became the age group that has the most babies.

Another notable finding: The current generation is getting further away from having enough children to replace itself.

The results put the US further away from a viable replacement rate - the standard for a generation being able to replicate its numbers. The replacement rate is 2,100 births per 1,000 women.

As The Associated Press reports, the USA birthrate is "still above countries such as Spain, Greece, Japan and Italy, but the gap appears to be closing".

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