A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that birth rates dropped last year for women in their teens, 20s, and 30s, resulting in the lowest U.S. birthrate in more than 30 years. The report, which was based on a review of more than 99 percent of birth certificates filed in 2017, found that 3.853 million births occurred in the U.S. last year, the lowest since 1987.
Birth rates have been steadily declining since 2014. Last year, however, there was an abnormally steep drop, as there were about 92,000 fewer births than there were in 2016. The new numbers also represent a sharp decline from just a decade ago when, according to NPR, “the U.S. finally broke its post-World War baby boom record, with more than 4.3 million births.”
“The decline in the rate from 2016 to 2017 was the largest single-year decline since 2010,” the CDC said.
The CDC’s report shows that the single largest change came from teens, as the 2017 birthrate dropped seven percent for U.S. teenagers, resulting in a record-low 18.8 births per 1,000 teens. According to the CDC, the birthrate has fallen by a staggering 55 percent since 2007 and by 70 percent since 1991. Women in their 20s and 30s have also seen a decline in birthrates, though to a lesser degree than teens.
Women in their 40s are the only group to see an increased birth rate last year, as there were 11.6 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 40 and 44. According to the CDC’s provisional data, this represents a two percent increase from 2016.
In a larger historical context, the U.S. birthrate has steadily risen since experiencing a significant drop in the 70s, though the rate of the increase often depended on a variety of factors, including the state of the economy. However, the past few years have shown that perhaps the United States birthrate is on the downswing again.