US Birth Rate Drops for Fourth Year in a Row
Birth rates across the country fell for the fourth year in a row, according to the latest government study.
After rising birth rates for the past few decades, the recent trend, while alarming, is relatively recent. Last year, there were less than 4 million births in the country, one of the lowest numbers since 1998.
Contributing to the decline are significant dips in Hispanic birth rates, as well as teen pregnancies. The likely cause of this is the continuing economic recession. With rising unemployment and the dismal housing market, the high cost of raising a child have been prohibitive to families.
Luckily, the decline last year was not as significant as the prior years, with birth rate dropping by 1% which is less than the 2-3% dip of the prior 3 years.
“It may be that the effect of the recession is slowly coming to an end,” explained Carl Haub from the Population Reference Bureau.
The study also revealed a significant shift for a mother’s birth age. Birth rates dropped 5% for women in their early 20s, becoming one of the lowest numbers for that age group since 1940. And instead, birth rates rose for moms ages 35 and older.
2012 data is not yet available, although it will be interesting to see if these trends continue. Maybe diaper shortage fears will not be a problem after all.