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U.S. Births Are at Record-Low Levels—Why Aren’t We Asking Why?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released its annual statistical overview of births in America. The agency reported that total U.S. births plummeted to a 32-year “record low” in 2018—particularly for teenagers and women in their twenties. But though 2018 may have set a new record, other recent years relay much the same story: total births and the general fertility rate (births per 1,000 reproductive-age women) have been falling steadily for well over a decade.  The “baby bust” trend is not unique to the United States. A Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded study published in 2018 in The Lancet reported that nearly half of countries worldwide had fertility rates below the “replacement level” of approximately 2.1 children per woman’s lifetime—a situation unheard of anywhere on the planet back in 1950. Describing this “watershed” finding, a scientist told the BBC that the revelation that half of the countries in the world are poised to experience shrinking populations “will be a huge surprise to people.”  Read more....

 

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