The US birth rate fell 4 percent last year, the largest one-year decline in nearly 50 years, according to a government report released Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The birth rate among mothers of all races has fallen to about 56 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the lowest point since federal health officials began tracking it more than a century ago, and about half what it was in the early 1960s.
The number of births among younger women has been declining for years, as many women have resorted to postponing motherhood and have smaller families.
low birth rate
“The fact that we’ve seen a decline in births, even for older mothers, is absolutely astounding,” said Brady Hamilton, lead author of the CDC report.
The CDC report is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year, and reflects the findings of an Associated Press analysis of 2020 data from 25 states, which showed that births fell during the “Covid 19” pandemic.
Experts say that the pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to the significant decline over the past year, and it is possible that anxiety about the pandemic and its impact on the economy has led many couples to believe that having a child at the time was a bad idea.
But many of the 2020 pregnancies started long before the virus spread, in the United States.
Follow up on the reasons
Hamilton said CDC researchers are working on a follow-up report to better analyze how the decline occurred.
The report showed that about 3.6 million children were born in the United States last year, down from about 3.75 million in 2019, knowing that in 2007 it recorded about 4.3 million births.
The birth rate for women aged 15 to 19 has declined by 8% from 2019, and has been declining almost every year since 1991.
The United States was once among the few developed countries that had a fertility rate that ensured that every generation would have enough children to replace it.
About 12 years ago, the rate was 2.1 children per American woman, but it kept falling until last year it fell to about 1.6, the lowest ever.