Economic downturn has affected a lot of factors, such as the unemployment rate and housing prices. Some people are blaming economic conditions for several straight years of declining births in the United States as more Americans may be putting off having children.
Oldest age group had only increase in birth rate
Unemployment rate and housing statistics have gotten a lot of attention in the past few years, and now another falling statistic is also getting blamed on the economy: the birth rate. The birth rate in the United States has declined over the past few years, according to MSNBC, and it is thought that it is at least partially because of economic conditions. U.S. births declined by 3 percent from 2009 to slightly more than 4 million births in 2010. Births declined for each age group except women 40 and older. The all-time high was in 2007, when there were 4.3 million births.
Birth rate fluctuation is normal
Fluctuation in birth rates and fertility rates is normal. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued a report stating that there were nearly 4.01 million births in 2010 and an overall rate of 64.7 births per 1,000 women 15 to 44. This marked a decline from 2007, but more than 4 million births is slightly high for Americans. The U.S. Census also maintains data on birth rates. The 2010 estimate of nearly 4.01 million births is close to the years 1989, 1993 and from 2000 to 2003, when there between 4 million and 4.1 million births. The U.S. Census measures births in births per 1,000 people, rather than per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. In 2007 the Census birth rate was 14.3 per 1,000 people. There were more than 15 births per 1,000 from 1977 to 1994, after reaching 18 per 1,000 in 1970, so fertility rates may be declining over the long term.
Fertility drops as population ages
A drop in the birth rate can be partially attributed to the fact that people are living longer. Census data shows that there are certainly more elderly people in the population than there used to be. In 1980, there were about 25 million Americans 65 and older. By the year 2000, the number of people 65 and older had reached nearly 35 million, and by 2009, there were more than 39 million people 65 and older. Similar growth was noted in the number of people 75 and older; there were less than 10 million Americans 75 and older in 1980. In 2009, there were almost 19 million. As the elderly population increases, the birth rate drops as the number of child-bearing women becomes a smaller portion of the population.
Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/births_fertility_2010/births_fertility_2010.htm
U.S. Census on Birth rates (PDF- Requires Adobe Reader): http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0078.pdf
U.S. Census on Population growth including age groups (PDF): http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0007.pdf
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