WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that the birth rate in the United States has reached a record low in 2017.
- Though about 3.8 million babies were born in the U.S. last year, the number is still 2% lower than in 2016, and is also the lowest recorded in 30 years.
- The report, published May 17, stated that the 2016 to 2017 decline in the U.S. birth rate was the largest single-year drop since 2010.
The U.S. birth rate generally declined for almost all age groups – teen birth rate fell 7% from 2016 to 2017, to about 19 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19; as well as for women under 40, with record lows among women in their 20s.
Also, the number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 was about 60, which is 3% lower than in 2016, and also the lowest recorded since 1909.
Karen Benjamin Guzzo, associate director of the Center for Family and Demographic Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, explained that part of the reason may be the people’s general state of economic uncertainty. People may be employed but they may also be working part time, working students, or paying off student loans.
Guzzo told Live Science, “People feel just really uncertain about the future. And that generally does not bode well for having kids.”
Young adults nowadays also feel like they need to accomplish all the milestones first before having a kid, like graduating from college, earning a stable income, then getting married.
Guzzo said, “It takes longer to feel like you’re a grown-up.”
Meanwhile, the report found one age group with an increase in birth rate in 2017, which is women in their early 40s. This could be because they feel there isn’t a lot more time to have kids.
Guzzo stated, “They can’t put it off for the future.”
Guzzo also pointed out that while the new report looked at overall births, it didn’t consider “birth order,” which is whether the births were a woman’s first child, second, or third, and so on. It is therefore still unclear whether women are having fewer children overall (firstborns) or simply having smaller families. Guzzo added that previous data have suggested that it may be the latter. The birth-order data for 2017 will be examined by the CDC in a follow-up report.
Source: Live Science