NEW YORK (AP) – The birth rate in the United States fell by 4% last year, the biggest drop in a year of nearly 50 years, according to a government report released Wednesday.
The percentage has dropped for mothers of all major races and ethnicities, and in an almost age group, falling to its 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 of them postpone motherhood and have smaller families.
The birth rate for women in the late 30s and 40s is increasing. But not last year.
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The CDC report is based on a review of more than 99% of birth certificates issued last year. The findings reflect a recent analysis by the Associated Press from 2020, data from 25 countries show that births fell during the coronavirus outbreak.
The pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to the big drop from last year, experts say. Concerns about COVID-19 and its impact on the economy may have led many couples to think that having a baby at the time was a bad idea.
But many pregnancies in 2020 began long before the US epidemic. CDC researchers are working on a follow-up report to better analyze how the downturn has developed, Hamilton said.
Other highlights from the CDC report:
– About 3.6 million babies were born in the United States last year, compared to about 3.75 million in 2019. When births rose in 2007, the United States registered 4.3 million births.
– The birth rate in the United States has dropped to about 56 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the lowest recorded rate. The speed is half of what it was in the early 60’s.
– The birth rate of 15-19 year olds has dropped by 8% since 2019. It has been declining almost every year since 1991.
– Birth rates have dropped by 8% for Asian Americans; 3% for Spanish women; 4% for black and white women; and 6% for mothers who were Native Americans or Alaska Natives.
– Cesarean section increases slightly, to about 32%. It has usually been declining since 2009.
– Some good news: The percentage of babies born small and premature – at less than 37 weeks of gestation – has fallen slightly, to 10% after rising for five consecutive years.
The current generation is moving away from having enough children to replace them.
The United States was once one of the 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 woman in the United States. But it slipped and fell to about 1.6 last year, the lowest recorded percentage.
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