U.S. Birthrate Drops 4th Year in a Row, Possibly Echoing the Great Recession
That is below the rate at which a generation can replace itself, a deficit that has occurred every year for the last 10 years and has become almost expected in the United States since 1971. The report calculated the replacement level as 2,100 births per 1,000 women.
The long-term decline in both the birth and fertility rate is bringing the United States more closely in line with other wealthy countries. In Canada, the total fertility rate in 2017 was 1,496.1 births per 1,000 women, according to Statistics Canada. And in England and Wales, the total fertility rate in 2017 was an average of 1,760 births per 1,000 women, according to the Office for National Statistics.
“This is an important change, but it is not one that is making us extraordinary,” Dr. Johnson-Hanks said. “It is making us more like other rich countries. It is making us more normal, in a sense. This is what Canada looks like; this is what Western Europe looks like.”
The report said the birthrate decline was present in almost all segments of the population except for two: Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, whose birthrates remained stable, and women ages 35 to 44, whose birthrates increased slightly, the report said.
The data suggests the birthrate fell most sharply among teenagers, who saw a decline of 7 percent. Last year, a record low of 179,607 children were born to mothers ages 15 to 19, the report said.
Of the racial groups that were affected by the declining birthrate, Asian-Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives were hit the hardest, with a decline of 3 percent. The report said the number of births declined 1 percent for Hispanic women and 2 percent for non-Hispanic white and black women.
The report also tracked maternal health care, which was shown to be improving, but with racial disparities.