Births Fall Again; Teenage Pregnancies & Abortions also Declined
According to statistics released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], America's birthrate continued to fall in 2018, sparking concern among policy-makers, economists and demographers. The CDC also reported that there were fewer abortions and teenage pregnancies.
The "Total Fertility Rate" which measures the number of children a woman will have during her lifetime, has been falling for decades, and in 2018 declined to about 1.7 per woman, well below the "replacement level" of 2.1 needed to ensure that the population remains stable. Falling birthrates are concerning because they signal that the nation will not be replenishing its workforce and will face declining tax revenue to support baby boomers as they continue to retire. Most developed countries including those in Europe, Japan, and Russia face a similar future.
New York Times: "Fertility rates are essential measures of a society’s demographic balance. If they are very high, resources like housing and education can be strained by a flood of children, as happened in the postwar Baby Boom years. If they are too low, a country may find itself with too few young people to replace its work force and support its elderly, as in Russia and Japan today."
America's population has leveled out in recent years, and any future growth will come almost entirely from immigration.
Brookings Study: "Because of the recent decline in natural increase [births], immigration now contributes nearly as much to population growth, and is projected to be the primary contributor to national population growth after 2030 as natural increase continues to decline. Thus immigration—its size and its attributes—will be an important contributor to the nation’s future population that is growing slowly and aging quickly."
As America continues to age and we have fewer children, it's important that we create policies now that attract the foreign engineers, farm-workers and software developers that our economy will need to compete in the future.
Teenage Pregnancies: The CDC report also contained some good news. The teenage pregnancy rate declined more than 7% from 2017, and it's now about 70 percent lower than in 1991 when it was seen as major policy concern. Since then, America's schools have instituted comprehensive sex education classes, and teens today have greater access to effective and longer-lasting forms of contraception.
Women aged 20 to 34 also had fewer children, but birthrates for women 35 and over increased slightly, continuing the trend of women putting off child-rearing to later in life.
Fewer Abortions: Fewer teenage pregnancies is contributing to a decline in the number of abortions in the United States. The CDC also reported this week that in 2016 there were just 623,471 abortions performed, down 2 percent from the prior year. That number represents the fewest abortions reported since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content