America lost its “baby boom”: Fewer millennial women are having babies
In the last couple of years, America has faced some big turnarounds and one of them is that the birth rates had increasingly lowered
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an article published by USA Today:
1.The rate of births to women ages 15 to 44, known as the general fertility rate, sank to a record low of about 60 per 1,000.
2.Women in their early 40s were the only group with higher birth rates in 2017, up 2 percent from the year. The rate has been rising since the early 1980s.
3.The cesarean section rate rose by a tiny amount after having decreased four years. Studies have shown C-sections are more common in first-time births involving older moms.
4.Rates of preterm and low birth weight babies rose for the third straight year, possibly for the same reason.
5.Birth rates for teens continued to nosedive, as they have since the early 1990s. In 2017, they dropped 7 percent from the year before.
6.Rates for women in their 20s continued to fall and hit record lows. They fell 4 percent.
7.Perhaps most surprising, birth rates for women in their 30s fell slightly, dipping 2 percent for women ages 30 to 34 and 1 percent for women 35 to 39.
According to an article published by The New York Times: “America’s fertility is in precipitous decline. Our team of forecasters at Demographic Intelligence projects 3.84 million births in 2017, down from about 3.95 million in 2016.” But, it doesn’t seem so bad after all since the fertility rate in women over 40 has increased monumentally. So, what’s is happening with younger women? There are re-thinking and re-shaping their lives in another way.
There are many factors that contribute to this decision. According to The New York Times, “A key factor is that marriage is increasingly being postponed. Total fertility rates controlling for marital status have not changed very much over the last 15 years. But with marriage coming later, the share of women at peak childbearing ages (20 to 40) who are married has steadily fallen.”
It follows like this, “As millennials in particular take their time to pair up, the average age of first birth is rising steadily. Today, the average age of a woman at first birth is over 26 years old. And while that is much higher than in the past, many European countries have an average age of first birth over 30, so there seems a lot more room to rise. In fact, the United States has the youngest age of first childbirth of any developed country.”
Contraceptives are a factor too. Once again, quoting The New York Times: “And the increasing availability and usage of emergency contraceptives (which some consider to be abortions but are not counted in official abortion statistics) further reduces the likelihood of implantation (from 1 percent emergency contraceptive usage in 1995 to 11 percent in 2006-2010).” Many women, even in marriages, use contraceptive pills to not get pregnant, in addition to the use of condoms. Marry couples are waiting the proper time to have a baby, and some of them don’t even want to have a baby at all.
Nowadays, there are many concerns amongst millennials and pregnancy. Melissa Willets, author of Why Millennials Are Increasingly Putting Off Parenthood, explains this phenomenon. According to her, “Adults born between 1980 and 2000 face more debt than their parents, and even their grandparents, did at their age due to the recession of 2007. And as a result, they're spawning (or not spawning) a trend that has economists worried for the country's future.”
Nan Astone, co-author of a Urban Institute study, explains that financial difficulties “causes young women who aren’t worried about the biological clock to say, ‘Things are tough right now. Let me put this off because I can.’”
And, as many women decide to not have babies, technologies such as IVF and artificial insemination “remain extremely expensive in many cases. A single attempt of even a very simple assisted-conception procedure can cost thousands of dollars, with even higher costs for more involved procedures, often not covered by insurance.”
In conclusion, the birth rate still suffers. There isn’t going to be an improvement of this panorama unless something -as financial crisis and millennials expectations- changes soon.
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