Sunday, July 02, 2017

Americans keep having fewer babies as U.S. birthrates hit some record lows

This is not bad in itself. We are using the earth's resources at an unsustainable rate, and polluting our environment badly. Americans cause much more negative effects than our share of the world popultion. However, I suspect much of the reason for the decrease is the declining welfare of many of our people. Many mothers have to work, and have less time for caring for children. And many people are aware of the hardships that will come with the damage to the environment from global warming.

By Karen Kaplan
June 30, 2017

For the second year in a row, the number of babies delivered in the U.S. fell in 2016, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics. For some groups of women, the birth rate reached record lows.

The provisional figures released Friday include 99.96% of all births in the United States last year. Here’s what they show:

The total number of babies born in the U.S. last year was 3,941,109. That’s 37,388 fewer babies than were born in the U.S. in 2015, which represents a 1% decline.

The number of births tends to rise as the population rises, so statisticians like to make historical comparisons by calculating the general fertility rate. This is the number of births per 1,000 women considered to be of childbearing age (between 15 and 44).

In 2016, the U.S. general fertility rate hit a record low of 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. In 2015, the general fertility rate was 62.5.

Another useful statistic is the total fertility rate. This is an estimate of the total number of babies that 1,000 women would have over their lifetimes, based on the actual birth rates for women in different age groups.

In 2016, the total fertility rate for American women was 1,818 births per 1,000 women. That’s the lowest it has been since 1984.

In order for a generation to exactly replace itself, the total fertility rate needs to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women. The U.S. has been missing that mark since 1971 (though the country’s population has grown due to immigration).


Meanwhile, birthrates for women in their teens and 20s hit record lows in 2016.

The teen birthrate reached a new low of 20.3 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19. That’s 9% lower than it was in 2015; 51% lower than it was in 2007 (when the current downward trend began); and 67% lower than it was in 1991 (the year with the most recent peak).

Improvements in teen births were seen in both 15-to-17-year-olds (down 11% from 2015) and 18- and 19-year-olds (down 8% from 2015).


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