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U.S. Birth Rates Continue to Decline as Economy Struggles to Gain Momentum

U.S. Birth Rates Continue to Decline as Economy Struggles to Gain Momentum
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According to a newly-released report from The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), birth rates are continuing to decline. During the period from 2007 through 2009, birth rates fell in the majority of states, and among almost all major population subgroups for women between the ages of 15 and 44. The data is based on the National Vital Statistics System.

The report points out that there has been much speculation that the nation’s economic downturn during the 2007 to 2009 period significantly contributed to the drop in fertility rates among American woman. Among the five states experiencing the greatest declines, indications are that the downward economic trend may have played a major role in the decline, as each of the states also encountered significant increases in unemployment. These states include Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida.

Earlier this year, a report on teen birth rates was released by the NCHS indicating that the U.S. teen birth rate had dropped to its lowest level in seven decades. A total of Forty-five states reported notable declines in teen births for the age range of 18 to 19 years from 2007 to 2009. In addition, thirty-one states reported a decline in births for the 15 to 17 age range during the same time period. The overall teen birth rate for 2009 was the lowest on record at 39.1 births per 1,000 for teens aged 15 to 19.

The downward trend was also indicated in the 2010 report on fertility rates released by the NCHS that showed the fertility rate among women 15-to-44 years old fell from a high of 69.2 per 1,000 in 2007 to 68.4 in 2008, and fell again in 2009 to 66.8. Overall births declined to 4,136,000 in 2009, a fall of 111,000 over 2008. Birth rates declined in all but 4 states: Washington DC, Louisiana, Nebraska, and New York. The largest declines were in Arizona (-7%), Florida (-5%), California (-4%), Pennsylvania (-4%), and South Dakota (-4%). Both California and Florida had two of the largest declines in 2009 as well.

In the 2009 NCHS report on birth rates, the number of births was increased by 1 percent in 2007 to 4,316,233 marking the highest number of births ever registered in the U.S. The report data was based on the number of births for 2007 in comparison with 2006 data. Among the preliminary data, the birth rate for U.S. teens ages 15 to 19 indicated an increase for the second year in a row, reaching 42.5 births per 1,000, an increase of about 1 percent, while the birth rate for teens 15 to 17 years of age rose to 22.2 per 1,000, and to 73.9 per 1,000 for those 18 to 19 years old, representing a gain of about 1 percent each. However, the rate for the youngest group of children ages 10–14 remained unchanged.

Among the key findings of this year’s report, during the period from 2007 through 2009, births declined by 4 percent to 4,131,019. In addition, the preliminary birth count through June, 2010 shows continued declines. Birth rates declined for all American women under 40 years of age, and the decreases reflect some of the largest among women in peak childbearing years. Among all major racial and Hispanic groups, fertility rates fell with the greatest declines seen among Hispanic women. Overall, fertility rates either decreased or were unchanged in every state, as well as the District of Columbia. The greatest declines were found to be among western and southeastern states.

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