New York – America’s birth rate fell 4 percent last year, the biggest annual decline in nearly 50 years, according to a government report released Wednesday.
The rate has fallen among women of the largest races and ethnicities, and in nearly all age groups, and has reached its lowest level since federal health authorities began keeping records more than a century ago.
Childbirths for young women have fallen for years, as many girls are delaying motherhood and have smaller families.
The birth rate among women in their forties is increasing. But not last year.
“The fact that there are fewer births even among older women is absolutely shocking,” said Brady Hamilton of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead author of the new report.
The CDC report is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year. The results are similar to an Associated Press analysis of 25 states showing birth decline during the coronavirus pandemic.
Experts say the epidemic undoubtedly contributed to the drastic decline in the past year. It is possible that the anxiety caused by COVID-19 and its impact on the economy led couples to believe it was a bad idea to have a baby at the time.
But many of the 2020 pregnancies began before the outbreak in the United States. Hamilton said CDC researchers are working on a follow-up report to better analyze how the ratios occurred.
Here are other findings from the CDC report:
About 3.6 million babies were born in the United States last year, down from 3.75 million in 2019. And when births were at their peak in 2007, the United States recorded 4.3 million births.
The birth rate in the United States has decreased to about 56 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the lowest level on record. The rate is about half of what it was in the early 1960s.
The birth rate among women aged 15-19 has been 8% lower than it was in 2019. It has been declining practically every year since 1991.
– The birth rate has decreased by 8% among Asian American women; 3% among Hispanic women; 4% among black and white women; And 6% among American Indian or Alaskan Native women.
Caesarean deliveries increased slightly, to around 32%. In general it has been declining since 2009.
Some good news: The proportion of babies born prematurely – less than 37 weeks pregnant – has fallen slightly to 10% after rising for five years in a row.
The current generation is progressing further and further from having enough children to replace themselves.
At one point, the United States was among the few developed countries to have a birth rate that ensured that each generation would have enough children to replace itself. About 12 years ago, the estimated rate was 2.1 children per American woman. But last year it took a pullback and fell to around 1.6, an all-time low.
The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Education Division. AP is solely responsible for all content.