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Why is the U.S. birth rate declining?

The birth rate in the United States hit a 32-year low in 2018

ATLANTA — ATLANTA—The U.S. birth rate fell to a 32-year low in 2018, an issue that impacts everything from the size of our workforce to the money available to pay for Social Security.

There were 3,788,235 births in the U.S. last year according to the CDC. That’s a two-percent drop from the previous year despite a solid economy.


The U.S. birth rate reversed its downward trend and started to climb around 2005, then started a steep drop during the great recession around 2008.

The cost of healthcare, and child care, have played a role.

“In Georgia, one in five women of productive age does not have access to public or private insurance,” says Andrea Swatzendruber, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health.

The birth rate dropped for every age group except women in their late 30s and early 40s. the biggest drop was in women under 35.

“Young people have higher levels of debt than previous generations,” says Swatzendruber.

There are fewer unplanned pregnancies due to advances in contraception.

Couples are waiting later to marry and waiting longer to have children.

Many couples are finding it more difficult to conceive.

“Some have pointed to behavioral and lifestyle changes, nutritional changes, and environmental factors,” says Swatzendruber.

More and more families involve a husband and wife who both work. That means less time for them to have and care for a child.