U.S. Birth Rate Hits Record Low

A recent National Center for Health Statistics Study indicates that the rate at U.S. women gave birth in 1997 was the lowest ever since the government began recording this information in 1909.

The birth rate among girls ages 15 to 19 dropped sixteen percent from 1991 to 1997, when only 14.5 of every 1,000 women gave birth. At the height of the U.S.’ baby boom in 1957, the birth rate was 25.3 per 1,000.

In addition to the obvious impact of declining births among teens, researchers also attributed overall decline to better contraceptives, teen pregnancy-prevention programs, and general aging within the U.S. population.

Despite the low birth rate, demographers say that the overall U.S. population is not expected to decline, given that women still have an average of 2 children each and that the recent study concerned only native-born women and didn’t count immigrant women. Also, birth rates have increased slightly among some groups of women, including women in their thirties.


New York Times and National Center for Health Statistics - April 29, 1999

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