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There Aren't Enough Babies Being Born in the US, CDC Says

The number of babies is too low to maintain a stable population.
ByStephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
Jan 2019
surprised baby's face
Photo: iStock

The national total fertility rate (TFR) has hit a new low. This means we aren’t making enough babies to maintain our current population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in a recent report.

While the total fertility rate has been on a steady decline for about seven years, the numbers for 2017 show the biggest drop in recent history. The TFR for 2017 was 1.7655—down from 1.8205 in 2016 and 1.8435 in 2015. It’s not great news considering the population needs to have a TFR of 2,100 births per 1,000 women in order to maintain itself.

The report takes a look at fertility rates state by state, with a high of 2,227 in South Dakota and a low of 1,421 in Washington, D.C.

While the CDC doesn’t comment on specific reasons why the birth rates may be dropping, there could be a bunch of possible scenarios accounting for the trend. For starters, lots of couples are waiting to have babies later in life. And a recent survey from the Pew Research Center cites medical issues, age and financial reasons as a few factors weighing in on the decision over whether or not partners will choose to have more kids.

The US isn’t the only country making less babies. In fact, the global TFR has been on the decline since 1960, showing this is a shift we are seeing worldwide.

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