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CDC records lowest US birth rate in nation’s history

Low US Birth rate

Artmim | Shutterstock

J-P Mauro - published on 04/28/24

While the pandemic years saw a brief uptick in births, the US birth rate stands at 54.4 births per 1,000 women, far below the population replacement rate.

An uptick in births during the COVID-19 pandemic years, described as a “baby bump,” is leveling out and returning to the downward trend that the US birth rate has seen in the last several decades. The US birth rate is now at the lowest level to have ever been recorded, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),

The “baby bump” was an unexpected rise in the US birthrate, especially in the middle of a pandemic that created many uncertainties about the future. According to Scientific American, the birthrate plummeted by 4% in 2020, at the start of the pandemic, and into the beginning of 2021. Around the second quarter of 2021, however, it bounced back, with the numbers rising higher than was expected. Scientific American supplies graphs that show the actual number of births rising at least 10,000 higher than predicted by the charts.

The largest increase was seen among those women aged 25 or younger who had their first child, as well as those aged 30-34 who have a college education. The data suggests that the “baby bump” continued through 2022 and even held strong through the first few months of 2023. That’s when it started to turn back to the pre-pandemic trend. 

According to the CDC’s data, supplied by Forbes, the US saw only 3.6 million babies born in 2023, a 2% drop from 2022. Furthermore, the birth rate for women of childbearing age (15 to 44) stands at 54.4 births per 1,000, the CDC report said, down 3% from 2022. This represents the lowest birth rate ever recorded by the CDC, previously set in 2020 at 56 births per 1,000 women.

In its conclusion, the CDC noted that the US is not alone in concerns over birth rates, which have been in decline around the world for decades. As far as explanations for the downward trend, the report cited intensely politicized debates over abortion, concerns over the economy, a lack of rights for working parents, and uncertainties about the environment. 

Read more at Forbes.

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