Birth rate drops to record lows due to economic worries and better contraceptive education
- U.S. birth rate is lowest it’s been since peak in 1991
- CDC data shows that there were only 13 live births per 1,000 women between 2010 and 2011
- Teen birth rate also down to 31.3 births per 1,000 women
- Economic woes and better contraceptive options helped shape trend
PUBLISHED: 18:17 EST, 11 February 2013 | UPDATED: 03:18 EST, 12 February 2013
The birth rate in the U.S. has reached record lows in 2011, new data shows.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that only 13 women per 1,000 gave birth between 2010 and 2011, the lowest its been since a peak in 1991.
Teen births are also down, with only three percent of teenagers aged 15-19 giving birth between that time, or to approximately 31.3 births per 1,000 women.
On the other end of the spectrum, the birth rate increased for women in their 30s and 40s increased by three percent in that time.
The CDC’s data was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, and shows that birth rates among young women in their 20s also fell from 90 births per 1,000 women in 2010 to 85.3 births in 2011.
CDC statistician Brady Hamilton, the lead author of the new report, said that the economy could be one factor for delaying having children.
‘The economy has declined, and that certainly is a factor that goes into people’s decisions about having a child,’ he said.
‘Women may say to themselves, ‘It’s not a particularly good time right now… let’s wait a little bit,” he told Reuters Health.
Data shows that birth rates declined drastically during the Great Depression, with women having on average one less child each in the decade that followed. And while the birth rate again climbed in the 1950s and 60s, the 1970s Energy Crisis leveled out birth rates to approximately two children per woman.
The Great Recession has led to stunted career growth, financial uncertainty
Older women, however, are typically more secure in their employment, he said – and understand that they don’t have as long to wait if they want to get pregnant.
Hamilton and his colleagues calculated that 3.6 million more babies would have been born to women in that age group over the last two decades had the teen birth rate not been falling since a peak in 1991.
On the other end of the spectrum, the birth rate among 35- to 39-year-olds increased by three percent over 2010 figures. In 2011, 4.7 percent of women in their late 30s and just over one percent in their early 40s had a baby, the CDC team found.
Another reason for the lower birth rates could be due to better sex education for young people.
‘The economy has declined, and that certainly is a factor that goes into people’s decisions about having a child.’
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in their updated guide for teens that IUDs and hormonal implants should be the first line of defence over more traditional methods like condoms and birth control pills.
The IUD and implants both require a visit to the doctor’s office and are much more costly than other methods. However, they are also the most effective forms of birth control available, save for abstinence.
Other results from the vital statistics report showed a continued decline in babies born prematurely or small, and an unchanged rate of infant deaths.
Black and Hispanic mothers continued to be more likely to have a premature baby than white women, but rates declined among all races. Infant mortality was more than twice as high among babies born to black mothers as in babies of white moms, death records showed.
Hamilton said the decline in teen births, in particular, is especially ‘welcome news’ and reflects the efforts of programs and policies targeting that age group.
‘It’s definitely consistent with the trends that we’ve seen, and it’s obviously good news overall,’ said Dr Krishna Upadhya, who studies teen pregnancy at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
‘I think the main thing behind this is increased contraceptive use, and better contraceptive use,’ Dr Upadhya, who wasn’t involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2277238/Birth-rate-drops-record-lows-economic-worries-better-contraceptive-education-new-data-shows.html#ixzz2Khj0A4lO