The birth rate in the United States declined to a record low in 2016, according to new data released by the National Center for Health Statistics. The general fertility rate was 62 births per 1,000 women aged 15-44, down one percent from 2015, the lowest U.S. birth rate on record.
U.S. women are delaying childbirth, and the data shows that shift.
Birth rates for women under 30 were the lowest on record. The teen birth rate (women aged 15 to 19) dropped by 9 percent in the last year and the rate for women in their early and late 20s dropped by four and two percent respectively.
But birth rates rose one percent for women aged 30-34, two percent for women aged 35-39, and four percent for women aged 40-44, to the highest rates since 1966.
The number of babies born to unmarried couples dropped for the eighth year on record. In 2016, 39.7 percent of births were to unmarried women. The percentage across races varied widely – 12 percent of Asian babies had unmarried parents, 28.4 percent of white babies, 52.5 percent of Hispanic babies and 69.7 percent of African-American babies.
Since 1971, the U.S. fertility rate has generally been below replacement level, but the population is not declining.
“Yes, it’s below replacement level, but not dramatically so,” Brady Hamilton, the study’s lead author, told The New York Times. “We have a high level of influx of immigrants that compensates for it.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Kiley Crossland writes for WORLD News Service, a division of WORLD Magazine, worldmag.com, based in Asheville. Used with permission.)