CRISIS: America has a Major Birth Rate Problem

Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine reported that American women are having less children.

He drew his piece from the latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

“The general fertility rate was 58.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 2 percent from 2018 to reach another record low for the United States,” according to initial NCHS birth data for 2019. “The total fertility rate (TFR) was 1,705.0 births per 1,000 women [1.705 births per woman] in 2019, down 1 percent from 2018 to reach another record low for the nation.”

In 2019, the total number 0f births was 3,745,540, a 1 percent decline from 3,791,712 in 2018. The report noted that this is the fifth year that the number of births has declined after an uptick in 2014, and the lowest number of births since 1986.

In 2019, the NCHS reported that U.S. TFR had declined to 1.73 births per woman which topped the previous U.S. fertility low point of 1.74 births per woman back in 1976. This number of births per woman is still below replacement. In other words, the level at which a given age segment can exactly replace itself is below the replacement average of 2.1 births per woman. Bailey noted that “The rate has generally been below replacement since 1971 and consistently below replacement since 2007.”

Furthermore, the NCHS revealed that births to teenage females between the ages of 15 and 19 also hit a record low of 16.6 births per 1,000 women. At the peak of the baby boom in the 1950s, births to teen mothers topped out at 96.3 per 1,000 women and then started to plummet. In the early 1990s, teen births briefly rose to 61.8 per 1,000 women, but have since plummeted by 75 percent.

Ronald Bailey provided a grim overview of the declining birth rates in the developed and developing world:

The U.S. TFR is now similar to that of many other countries, including those that make up the European Union (1.543), Australia (1.74), New Zealand (1.71), Japan (1.42), South Korea (0.977), Brazil (1.73), and China (1.69). This mirrors the decades long global trend of women choosing to bear ever fewer children over the course of their lifetimes. Global total fertility stood at more than five children per woman in 1964 and is well on its way toward below replacement levels, having now dropped to 2.415 children per woman as of 2018.

Given these facts, the U.S. will need to get a handle on immigration in order to avoid a demographic collapse. It will need to also reduce its military footprint abroad and scale back the welfare state as a means of freeing up funds to implement a paid leave program.

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