United States birth rate hit 30-year low in 2017 — CDC

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Experts think that there is probably a shift in attitudes occurring, where women are choosing to delay having children - particularly as assisted reproductive technology is ever improving - or simply deciding to have fewer.

Birth rates fell for almost all age groups of women younger than 40 in 2017, sending overall fertility rates to a record low, USA health officials reported Thursday.

The 2017 provisional estimate of fertility for the entire US indicates about 3.85 million births in 2017 and a total fertility rate of about 1.76 births per women. The general fertility rate was 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 years, which marked a record low, down 3 percent from 2016. "The United States is experiencing its lowest birth rate in 30 years". Even between 2016 and 2017 the rate has dropped 7 percent, but from 1990 this figure has come crashing down by an incredible 70 percent.

For the third year in a row, the preterm birth rate increased to 9.93 percent.

The numbers seem to correspond with what the Census Bureau and others have been predicting for years: that America's population growth will increasingly depend on immigrants, after decades in which the USA enjoyed a relatively high fertility rate when compared to other developed countries. In fact, the only age group that saw an increase in birth rates during 2017 was those in their 40's.

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"Education and access to contraception are big factors in decreasing teen pregnancies", Wu noted. In this age group, there were 11.6 births per 1,000 women, up 2 percent from 2016.

While the number of births nudged up in 2014, it's fallen for three consecutive years.

The CDC report was released online May 17 in a National Vital Statistics System Rapid Release.

The 2017 numbers also represent a 10-year fall from 2007, when the US finally broke its post-World War Baby Boom record, with more than 4.3 million births.