US birth rate records a low; Annual births remain elevated near 4 million

November 30, 2012 • Family Planning, United States, Daily Email Recap

The Pew Research Center recently announced that the U.S. birth rate fell to its lowest level since at least 1920, when reliable record-keeping began. I have included two such stories below. Specifically, the report indicated that the general fertility rate for 2011 is 63.2 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. (It peaked in 1957 during the Baby Boom years, reaching 122.7 per 1,000 women).

However, once again, the concept of *rate* is surely being haphazardly conflated with aggregate totals in the minds of too many news-consumers. Indeed, the National Center for Health Statistics reported in early October that the 2011 number of US births was 3,953,593, only 1% less (or 45,793 fewer) births than in 2010 — and just 362,407 shy of the absolute record set in 2007 of 4,316,000 births. In other words, despite narrowly accurate headlines indicating a record low rate of births, aggregate births are just 8% off their all time high.

US birth rate falls to record low
29 November 2012

The US birth rate hit a record low last year, led by the decline in child-bearing among foreign-born women, according to a Pew study.

The overall US birth rate decreased by 8% between 2007-10, and by 6% among US-born women, found the data.

The rate fell sharpest for those hardest hit by the recession: 14% among foreign-born women and 23% among Mexican immigrant women in particular.

The 2011 rate was the lowest since 1920, when such records began.

Previous research by Pew concluded that states with the largest economic downturn from 2007-08, were most likely to have experienced fertility declines.

Foreign and US-born Hispanic women have experienced the largest fall in household wealth since 2007.

But increased access to contraception for Latino women may also be playing a part in the falling birth rate, according to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

To read the full story, please click here:

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