Newspaper article MinnPost.com

U.S. Women Are Having Fewer Babies and at Later Ages, CDC Report Finds

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

U.S. Women Are Having Fewer Babies and at Later Ages, CDC Report Finds

Article excerpt

Fertility rates have fallen significantly in the United States over the past 10 years, with the biggest declines occurring in large metropolitan areas, according to a data brief released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The average age of first-time mothers has increased during that period as well, and the rise has been greatest in large metro areas, the CDC report also shows.

The report doesn’t discuss why American women are having fewer babies and at older ages, but other research has pointed to several possible factors. These include women declining or delaying marriage, often to finish their education and establish their careers.

Teen pregnancies have also been at historic lows in recent years, including in Minnesota.

A recent New York Times survey of a nationally representative group adults aged 20 to 45 found that the top reasons for why people aren’t having as many children as previous generations have to do with wanting more leisure time and personal freedom, not having found a partner yet, and — leading the list — not being able to afford child-care costs.

In fact, four out of the five top reasons cited in the survey for having fewer children had to do with financial worries.

Across all areas

The total fertility rate — the estimated number of births expected from a group of 1,000 women during their lifetime — reached its most recent peak in the U.S. in 2007, the CDC report points out.

The rate has been dropping ever since — and in all areas of the country.

During 2007 and 2017, the total fertility rate fell 12 percent in rural areas (to 1,950 per 1,000 women), 16 percent in small or medium metro areas (to 1,778 per 1,000 women), and 18 percent in large metro areas (to 1,712 per 1,000 women).

The CDC data also shows that as the decade progressed, the difference between the fertility rates of rural and metro areas widened. …

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