For the first time in more than thirty years, the American birth rate has dropped to it’s lowest rate. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials. What will we call this next dwindling generation, and how will they navigate the years to come?
USA Today unpacks the latest data from the CDC.
Experts said several factors may be combining to drive the declines, including shifting attitudes about motherhood and changing immigration patterns.
The provisional report, based on a review of more than 99 percent of the birth certificates filed nationwide, counted 3.853 million births last year. That’s the lowest tally since 1987.
… That was surprising, because baby booms often parallel economic booms, and last year was a period of low unemployment and a growing economy.
Right off the bat, we look at millennials. Millennial women are more likely to delay marriage and child bearing for carriers. Could it be they also look at the foundational family structure differently too?
Another may be changes in the immigrant population, who generate nearly a quarter of the babies born in the U.S. each year. For example, Asians are making up a larger proportion of immigrants, and they have typically had fewer children than other immigrant groups.
While birth rates for teens have decreased, it seems women in their 40 have thought better of delaying child bearing, because that demographic rose.
–Women in their early 40s were the only group with higher birth rates in 2017, up 2 percent from the year. The rate has been rising since the early 1980s.
… –Rates for women in their 20s continued to fall and hit record lows. They fell 4 percent.
–Perhaps most surprising, birth rates for women in their 30s fell slightly, dipping 2 percent for women ages 30 to 34 and 1 percent for women 35 to 39.
Birth rates for women in their 30s had been rising steadily to the highest levels in at least half a century, and women in their early 30s recently became the age group that has the most babies.
There is no doubt, we look differently at family these days. Women feel the need or maybe desire the independence that a career gives them, but the desire to “have it all” from the 60s and 70s doesn’t seem to be a driver anymore.