Americans Aren’t Having Enough Babies to Replace Future Generations

FEWER BABIES WERE BORN in the U.S. in 2018 than in any other year since 1986, new federal data indicates.

There were nearly 3.79 million births last year, the fourth year in a row births have fallen after an upward blip in 2014, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ahead of a final report on last year’s births that’s scheduled for release this fall, the new figures are the latest nod to long-term trends that reflect shifting social and population dynamics across the country.

Between 2017 and 2018, a decline in births was seen across major racial and ethnic groups: Births fell 3% for both Asian and American Indian or Alaska Native women, while white and black women both saw 2% declines. The number of births fell 1% for Hispanic women.

The new CDC figures, based on 99.73% of all births in 2018, also show that the country’s total fertility rate – an estimate of the number of births a hypothetical group of 1,000 women would have during their lifetimes – fell to a level that marked “another record low for the nation” last year. To exactly replace a generation, the CDC says 2,100 births per 1,000 women are needed, but that rate reached just 1,728 per 1,000 in 2018.

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