Thursday, May 29, 2014

Births in 2013

At first glance, the 2013 estimate of the number of births in the United States might seem ho-hum. The number changed little: the 3,957,577 estimate of 2013 was only 4,736 greater than the 3,952,841 of 2012 and still 8 percent below the all-time high of 4,316,233 in 2007.

On second glance, the estimate is startling. Although the overall number of births held steady, the fertility rate fell to a new all-time low of 62.9 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. This is 9 percent below the rate of 69.3 in 2007. Even more startling is the plummeting fertility of young women. In 2013, the fertility rates of women aged 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 to 29 all fell to new record lows. In other words, never before have young women had so few children.

That may explain this finding: the first-birth rate also hit an all-time low in 2013, with the rate dropping for women in every age group under age 30. Clearly, young women are reluctant to have children, and the number of births is essentially unchanged only because older women are playing catch up before time runs out. The seeming stability in births belies the havoc wreaked by the Great Recession on the lives of young adults.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Births: Preliminary Data for 2013

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