US Birth Rate Hits All-time Low In 2011 Due To Economic Worries And Better Contraceptive Education
The US birth rate reached an all-time low in 2011, according to figures just released by the Centers for Disease Control. The report, published in the journal Pediatrics, indicates the live birth rate per 1,000 women was 12.7—down from 13.0 in 2010, 14.4 in 2000 and 24.1 in 1950. In 2011 3,953,593 babies were born in the US—a full 1 percent fewer than in 2010 and four percent fewer than in 2009. Likewise, the birth rate among women of childbearing age—15 to 44—fell to a record-low 63.2 in 2011, down from 64.1 in 2010.
The data was just as significant when broken up by age group. Teen births were down in 2011, with only 3 percent of teens aged 15 to 19 giving birth—or about 31.3 births per 1,000 women in the age group. And rates among women in their 20s also fell significantly from 90 births per 1,000 women in 2010 to 85.3 births in 2011.
“The economy has declined, and that’s certainly a factory that goes into people’s decisions about having a child,” CDC statistician Brady Hamilton, lead author of the report, told Reuters. “Women say to themselves, ‘It’s not a particularly good time right now… let’s wait a little bit.’”
Experts also attribute the decline in teen birth rates to better sex education for young people and better access to birth control. In its new guide for teens, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that IUDs and hormonal implants are better options for teens than traditional birth control methods such as condoms birth control pills. Although they require a visit to the doctor and are more costly, the two options are more effective.
Contrary to the falling birth rates among younger women, however, the birth rate among 35- to 33 to 39-year-olds increased by 3 percent over 2010 figures to 4.7 percent of the population. Likewise, more than 1 percent of women in their early 40s gave birth in 2011. Study authors estimate that older women are often more secure in their careers and less affected by recession—and know they can’t necessarily wait for better times to get pregnant.
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