NEW YORK (AP) – The US birth rate fell 4% last year, the biggest single-year drop in nearly 50 years, according to a government report released Wednesday.
The rate dropped for mothers of all major races and ethnicities and dropped in almost age group to the lowest point since federal health officials began tracking it more than a century ago.
Births have been declining in younger women for years, as many exposed motherhood and had smaller families.
Birth rates for women in their late 30s and 40s have risen. But not last year.
“The fact that you saw births even for older mothers is quite striking,”
The CDC report is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year. The results repeat a recent analysis from the Associated Press of 2020 data from 25 states showing that births had fallen during the outbreak of coronavirus.
The pandemic undoubtedly contributed to last year’s sharp decline, experts say. Anxiety about COVID-19 and its impact on the economy probably led many couples to believe that having a baby right then was a bad idea.
But many of the pregnancies in 2020 began well before the U.S. epidemic. CDC researchers are working on a follow-up report to better analyze how the decline unfolded, Hamilton said.
Other highlights from the CDC report:
– About 3.6 million babies were born in the United States last year, down from about 3.75 million in 2019. When births flourished in 2007, the United States recorded 4.3 million births.
– The US birth rate fell to about 56 births per. 1,000 women of childbearing age, the lowest number registered. The rate is half of what it was in the early 1960s.
– The birth rate for 15- to 19-year-olds fell 8% from 2019. It has fallen almost every year since 1991.
– The birth rate fell 8% for Asian American women; 3% for Spanish women; 4% for black and white women; and 6% for mothers who were Native American or Alaska natives.
– The birth rate for caesarean section increased slightly, to approx. 32%. It had generally been declining since 2009.
– Some good news: The percentage of infants born small and premature – with less than 37 weeks of pregnancy – fell slightly to 10% after rising five years in a row.
The current generation is getting further away from having enough children to replace themselves.
The United States was once among only a few developed countries with a fertility rate that ensured that each generation had enough children to replace it. About a dozen years ago, the estimated rate was 2.1 children per capita. American woman. But it has been sliding, and last year dropped to around 1.6, the lowest rate on record.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.