Millennials fuel continued downward trend in fertility rates
By Janet Adamy of The WSJ. Excerpts:
A number of women who put off having babies after the 2007-09 recession are forgoing them altogether; more educated women and student debt also contribute to decline in birth rates
"The number of babies born in America last year was the lowest in more than four decades, according to federal figures released Wednesday that show a continuing U.S. fertility slump.U.S. women had about 3.61 million babies in 2020, down 4% from the prior year, provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics shows. The total fertility rate—a snapshot of the average number of babies a woman would have over her lifetime—fell to 1.64. That was the lowest rate on record since the government began tracking it in the 1930s, and likely before that when families were larger, said report co-author Brady Hamilton. Total births were the lowest since 1979.Because the Covid-19 pandemic emerged in March, the figures capture just a short period at year’s end when the unfolding health and economic crisis could be reflected in women’s decisions about getting pregnant.Women typically have fewer babies when the economy weakens. Fears of getting sick, making medical appointments and delivering a baby as a deadly virus spread also dissuaded some women from pregnancy.""Demographers say the data suggests that more fundamental social and economic shifts are driving down fertility. Births peaked in 2007 before plunging during the recession that began that year. Although fertility usually rebounds alongside an improving economy, U.S. births fell in all but one year as the economy grew from 2009 until early 2020.""about 7.6 million fewer babies have been born as a result of lower fertility rates since 2007.""separately released provisional monthly data from the CDC showed births declined about 7.7% in December. That shows a drop that was already under way before the pandemic and accelerated once the pandemic took hold.""Millennials . . . are marrying later in life, getting higher levels of education and are less financially secure than previous generations when they were the same age.""Since peaking in 1991, the teenage birthrate has fallen 75%."