A new government report reveals that U.S. births fell in 2011 for the fourth straight year, although the decline was just one percent, less than the two to three percent drop seen in recent years.
The Associated Press reports that the struggling economy is continuing to result in lower birth rates across the country, even though last year’s decline was not as great as in past years. Still, fewer than four million births were counted last year, which is the lowest number since 1998.
One of the most surprising declines was seen in Hispanic birth rates, a population that is said to have been disproportionately affected by the poor economy, which fell by a surprising six percent in 2011.
Most experts say the economy is to blame.
“Among the people who study this sort of thing, the flagging economy has been seen as the primary explanation,” the AP reports. “The theory is that many women or couples who are out of work, underemployed or have other money problems feel they can’t afford to start a family or add to it.”
Teen birth rates have also continued to decline, but this is due to a decline in sexual activity and an increase in the number of girls who are using contraceptives rather than to the economy.
Falling birth rates is not the norm in the U.S. where births have been on the rise since the late 1990s and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.
Other highlights from the report include:
-The birth rate for single women fell for the third straight year, dropping by 3 percent from 2010 to 2011.
- The birth rate for married women rose 1 percent.
- The birthrate declined only two percent for black women, stayed the same for whites and actually rose a bit for Asian-American and Pacific Islanders.
- Once again, birth rates fell for women in their early 20s, which is down five percent from 2010 – the lowest mark for women in that age group since 1940.
- Birth rates held steady for women in their early 30s, and rose for moms ages 35 and older.
The new report also noted another decline in the number of children women are having in their lifetimes. Two or more children is needed to keep the population stable. In the last year, the U.S. birth rate fell to slightly below 1.9, but most experts believe this will bounce back to former levels once the economy improves.
© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® http://www.womenofgrace.com