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Birth Rate

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A report by the Pew Research Center warned that the U.S. birth rate dropped to its lowest level since the beginning of the Great Depression. The birth rate of 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age is the lowest since at least 1920.

The major reason for the decline in births was due to a drop in births among immigrants. America would have dropped below replacement levels if it were not for the significant number of births among immigrants. The tough economic times have decreased their birth rate as well. Nevertheless, foreign-born moms continue to give birth to a disproportionate share of the country’s babies.

Fertility rates have been dropping for some time, but is has sometimes been difficult to see because of the fluctuations in the number of babies born. After World War II, we had a baby boom in which 76 million babies were born from 1946 to 1964. The baby boom was followed by a baby bust. Some have called it a “birth dearth.”

This birth dearth has been taking place now for decades. But it has been hard to see. The number of babies born in the 1980s and 1990s actually increased. It was not because the birth rate was increasing. It was because there were so many baby boom women who were having babies.

The birth rate is down for many reasons. Abortion is one obvious reason. More than a million babies that might have been born each year are aborted. Lifestyle choices are another reason. Young people are getting married later, have children later, and have fewer children compared to previous generations.

The situation in America is not unique. All of the modern industrialized countries are facing what many call a “demographic winter.” Falling fertility rates and aging populations are one of the greatest challenges facing many countries in Europe and elsewhere. The United States now, may face those same challenges.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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