United States experiences lowest birth rates in 30 years
COLUMBIA- The United states is experiencing one of the lowest birth rates in 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report stated last year's total number of births decreased 2 percent since 2016. Birth rate wasn’t the only reported drop, as fertility went down by 3 percent.
In 2017, there were only 60 births per 1,000 women aged 15 through 44, with around 92,000 fewer children born than the year before.
Dr. Mistie Mills from Columbia’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital said there are a few reasons for the decline in births.
“That also probably relates more to people getting more advanced degrees advanced education,” Mills said. “We also see that the unmarried birth rate is down by about 3 percent, so people are probably delaying childbearing for planning for marriage and pregnancy,” Mills said.
She said millennials waiting to have children is another contributing factor to the low birthrates, which in turn means the new generation will not meet the "viable replacement rate" — the standard number for any generation to replicate its total.
Studies show the decreasing birth trend has been consistent in Missouri as well. Boone County’s birth rates has seen a .80 percent decrease over the last five years. Missouri has seen a statewide decrease of .2 percent over the same course of time.
These new low statistics mean teen pregnancy also took a plunge.
According to the CDC report, “The birth rate for teen mothers aged 15 through 19 declined 57% from 2000 through 2016.”
“The biggest group of decline is within the birthrate for teenagers aged 15-19 and that rate is down 9 percent. Of course we feel that that’s probably because of more education and access to birth control options as well as access to health care,” Mills said.
The birth rate for the youngest mothers recorded aged 10 through 14 declined by more than 6,200 in 2016 compared to 2000. This was a record low since the high of 8,519 in 2000.
However, the birth rate for older women has increased. Mills said women aged 35 to 39 have seen a 2 percent increase. She said she hopes these new numbers means the number of unintended pregnancies has decreased.