Birth Rate in America Drops to Record Lows

Due to the struggling economy and easier access to contraceptives, the birth rate in the US has reached record lows.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that said only 13 women per 1,000 gave birth between 2010 and 2011, the lowest ever since its peak in 1991.

Teen births also were on the decline, as only three percent of teens aged 15-19 gave birth during that year, or about 31.3 births per 1,000 women.

While it decreased overall, it increased in women in their 30s and 40s by three percent.

Birth rates among young women in their 20s fell from 90 per 1,000 women to 85.3 per 1,000 in 2011.

Statistician Brady Hamilton said the economy likely played a role in the drop.

“The economy has declined, and that certainly is a factor that goes into people’s decisions about having a child,” he said. “Women may say to themselves, ‘It’s not a particularly good time right now...let’s wait a little bit.’”

During the Great Depression, birth rates declined drastically, as women averged one less child in each decade that followed. Though it climbed in the ‘50s and ‘60s, it dropped again in the ‘70s to two children per woman.

Hamilton explained that the Great Recession has resulted in uncertain financial futures for many. But older women feel more secure in their futures, and are on a time crunch, so had more children during that year.

The study found that 4.7 percent of women in their late 30s had a baby, while a little over one percent in their early 40s had one as well.

Another reason could be because of better sex education and easier access to contraceptives. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said their updated guide for teens informs them of other, longer-lasting contraceptive methods like the IUD and hormonal implants.

“It’s definitely consistent with the trends that we’ve seen, and it’s obviously good news overall,” Dr. Krishna Upadhya said of the decline in teen pregnancies. “I think the main thing behind this is increased contraceptive use, and better contraceptive use.”



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