US birth rate falls to lowest since 1987

The birth rate in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years, according to a new study that also indicates a shift toward people waiting longer before having children. Birth rates are also falling in other countries – add further examples below. 

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The National Center for Health Statistics, a government agency, released its report on 2017 birth rates, which recorded a total of 3,853,472 births, a two percent drop on the figure for 2016 and the lowest since 1987.

Read the full report here.

According to the center’s analysis, the decline is prevalent in people aged 15-39, with the birth rate rising among people aged 39-44.

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According to the World Economic Forum, this is in line with broad global trends, particularly in economically developed countries, with total fertility rates falling by around half since 1960. However, the UN still projects global population to grow to around 9.8 billion by 2050, due to high growth rates in a minority of countries.

World Population by level of fertility over time By Max Roser via OurWorldinData
World Population by level of fertility over time By Max Roser via OurWorldinData

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A report by pollsters Pew, released earlier this year, found that the average age of motherhood has risen in part due to a decline in the rate of teenage pregnancies and women choosing to delay parenthood while they work towards educational and professional goals. Pew also found that women in their late thirties and early forties are more likely to become parents than in recent decades.

Falling birth rates in other countries:

  • Japan – Japan’s population shrank by nearly 1 million people over a five-year period, with almost third of the population being over 65 years old in 2015, reported The Washington Post in 2016.
  • Add more examples here.

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