Birth rates in the U.S. have reached a record low, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics.
According to the report, 3,853,472 babies were born in the U.S. in 2017. It is the fewest number in 30 years. The fertility rate also fell to 1.76 births per woman.
In comparison, the birth rate was 4.31 million in 2007, according to the Institute for Family Studies.The 2007 fertility rate was 2.08 births per woman.
“Race, ethnicity, marital status, and geography are the best predictors of changes in fertility over the last decade,” Lyman Stone, a research fellow at the institute, said. “Fertility declines are most strongly associated with factors that are race- or region-specific, not broadly class-specific, as different economic classes appear to have quite similar trends.
Researchers say the dip in births may be because women are choosing to have children later in life.
“Clearly, there is postponement,” Pew Research Center senior researcher Gretchen Livingston told CNN. “Now, will all the women who’ve been postponing birth ultimately catch up on their fertility? I’m not sure.”
Data also shows that reported teenage sexual activity has also fallen, and in turn teenage birth rates. With 194,284 births to teenage girls, the birth rates are down 7 percent from the prior year.
The report also said couples may be choosing to postpone having children because of the nation’s economy.
“Our own survey data shows that people stated they were postponing birth until the economy picked up again,” Livingston went on. “Whenever there’s an economic downturn, it’s pretty normal for there to also be a downturn in fertility.”
But the drop in number of births is also hurting baby businesses.
In January, Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Huggies diapers, said it would cut about 5,000 jobs globally to reduce costs.
"I'd say, certainly in 2017 we had some factors like the birthrate in the U.S. and Korea being more negative than expected, that you can't encourage moms to use more diapers in a developed market where the babies aren't being born in those markets," CEO Thomas Falk said in an earnings call in January.
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Publication date: May 18, 2018