Birth Rates in the United States Reach Record Lows

By Sarah Hayford, The Ohio State University and Karen Benjamin Guzzo, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Birth rates are falling in the United States. After the highs of the Baby Boom in the mid-20th century and the lows of the Baby Bust in the 1970s, birth rates were relatively stable for nearly 50 years. But during the Great Recession, from 2007-2009, birth rates declined sharply – and they’ve kept falling. In 2007, average birth rates were right around 2 children per woman. By 2021, levels had dropped more than 20%, close to the lowest level in a century. Why?

Is this decline because, as some suggest, young people aren’t interested in having children? Or are people facing increasing barriers to becoming parents?

We are demographers who study how people make plans for having kids and whether they are able to carry out those intentions.

In a recent study, we analyzed how changes in childbearing goals may have contributed to recent declines in birth rates in the United States. Our analysis found that most young people still plan to become parents but are delaying childbearing.

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Source: Study Finds