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U.S. Births Down For Fourth Straight Year

While the United States economic problems affect Americans in all sorts of ways, it is also taking it’s toll on the birth rate. — Click to Tweet.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the birth rate in the United States has dropped for the fourth straight year. While this is troubling, there is a bit of a silver lining; while the birth rate dropped by as much as 2-3 percent in recent years, it only dropped by one percent in 2011. But only 4 million births were recorded in 2011, which is the lowest amount since 1998.

With birth rates falling around the country and increasingly effective contraceptives on the rise, what does this mean for the future?

With birth rates falling around the country and increasingly effective contraceptives on the rise, what does this mean for the future?

The Baby Bust
While the United States’ recession officially only lasted from December 2007 through June 2009, many Americans are reporting that they think the economy is still too unstable to consider having children. With jobs becoming scarcer and the housing market remaining unstable, couples are weighing their options and opting to hold off on kids.

This development also marks the fourth straight year of decline in the calculation for how many children American women have over their lifetimes. While the rate of 2 children per woman represents the ideal number, the decline has led the number to drop to just below 1.9. This drop doesn’t represent a huge problem, it’s important to note that countries who also average 1 child per woman – such as Japan and China – face future labor shortages and various possible economic problems down the line.

Different ethnic groups have experienced different changes in their birth rates, but the overall implications for public policy have yet to be explored.

Different ethnic groups have experienced different changes in their birth rates, but the overall implications for public policy have yet to be explored.

Highlights from the Report
-While the birthrate for single women fell, it was reported that the birthrate for married women actually rose 1 percent.
-The birth rate for Hispanic women dropped 6 percent
-The birth rate for black women fell by only 2 percent
-Birth rates for women in their early 20s dropped by 5 percent, and was the lowest percentage since 1940, when comprehensive national birth records were first compiled.
-Alternatively, the birth rate for women 35 and older increased.
-Teen births hit a historic low, with the percentage being the lowest since 1946.

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