U.S. Birth Rate Lowest in History

Monday, August 30, 2010

With so many Americans struggling to get by, the United States has experienced a drop in births for the second year in a row, to the lowest level in the nation’s history. The U.S. birth rate fell in 2009 to 13.5 per 1,000 population—a marked decline from 2007 when the rate was 14.3 and more babies were born in the U.S. than any other year in its history. In 1820, the earliest year for which full statistics are available, the birth rate was 55.2 per 1,000 population.

“When the economy is bad and people are uncomfortable about their financial future, they tend to postpone having children. We saw that in the Great Depression the 1930s and we’re seeing that in the Great Recession today,” Andrew Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, told the Associated Press. “It could take a few years to turn this around.”
During the Depression, the U.S. birth rate dropped as low as 18.4 in 1936 and it wasn’t until after World War II that it returned to the level of 1926. More recently, the birth rate peaked at 16.7 in 1990 and it has gone down more or less steadily since then.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Recession May Have Pushed U.S. Birth Rate to New Low (by Marilynn Marchione, Associated Press)


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